Monday, May 31, 2004

Do NOT wave at the beauty queens!

'Apprentice' fired again - from Miss Universe job

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -- Less than two months after getting fired by Donald Trump on the U.S. television reality show "The Apprentice," runner-up Kwame Jackson got the boot again on Monday -- this time as a judge for Trump's Miss Universe pageant.

Jackson, the runner-up to the reality show's April 15 final prize -- a yearlong, US$250,000 job with the billionaire developer -- was disqualified by pageant organizers for waving at beauty queens he bumped into in their hotel lobby.

"Kwame is intelligent, charming and we were really looking forward to him judging on our panel," pageant president Paula Shugart said in a statement made available to The Associated Press. "But his interaction with the delegates, albeit unintentional, is strictly prohibited."

The pageant statement quoted Jackson saying he was "disappointed and disheartened" and "honestly had no idea that (the hotel) was off limits."

"I was meeting up with some friends who had flown in to support me, when I was recognized by some of the delegates," the 29-year-old New Yorker and Harvard University graduate said. "As a natural human response, I extended my hand to greet them."

Shugart said the pageant has offered Jackson a spot on next year's panel of judges.

His replacement for Tuesday night's Miss Universe final was not immediately named.

The Miss Universe competition, co-owned by Trump and U.S. television company NBC, draws women from more than 80 nations worldwide and has been around for 53 years. NBC also airs "The Apprentice."


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