BANGKOK — The winner of Miss Universe Thailand 2020 said Wednesday she would not back down from comments about police violence that cost her job in a government agency.
Pageant queen Amanda Obdam, 27, was removed from her position as a publicity ambassador for the Mental Health Department on Tuesday for speaking out against the beating of a medic volunteer by riot police during a protest in February. In today’s news conference, Amanda stood by her remark and said human rights is a crucial issue.
“Democracy and human equality is a basic principle of humanity,” she said.
Amanda called out the police’s actions in a tweet published on Feb. 14, a day after a group of policemen were seen kicking and hitting a medic volunteer with their truncheons.
“How can we talk about love when there’s still violence on the street?” she wrote in English, and added in Thai, “How can we talk about the Day of Love when people are still harmed by security officers?”
How can we talk about love when there’s still violence on the street?
Photo by @soezeya #whatishappeninginthailand #ม็อบ13กุมภา pic.twitter.com/CSVz5RoLMT
— Amanda Obdam (อแมนด้า) (@amanda_obdam) February 14, 2021
The Department of Mental Health responded by sacking her from the publiclity job, just days after the department appointed her to the role on Feb. 25.
“The Department of Mental Health has discussed with the pageant winner and understood that some citizens are concerned,” a statement released by the agency said.
“Therefore, we have terminated her role as a brand ambassador for the Department of Mental Health, effective immediately.”
Organizers of the pageant appear to be sympathetic to Amanda. Miss Universe Thailand executive Piyaporn Sankosik said at today’s news conference, “Everyone has something to do with politics. Amanda has always posted her views and stance.”
Despite her removal from the health agency, Amanda said she would continue to campaign for mental health awareness via her own platform, called Have You Listened?.