The Selfie That Brought Death Threats


Priscila Chavez, Reporter

     It all started with a selfie. Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq (27 years old) had posted a photo with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman via Instagram with the caption, “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” and the selfie later started to get a bunch of backlash and even death threats.

     Sarah Idan had been so excited to be a contestant for Miss Universe 2017. ”I was on cloud nine. I had been dreaming of that,” but soon enough she started to get hate over the photo. Idan and Gandelsman both were at a pre pageant photo shoot in Las Vegas when Idan told Gandelsman they should take a picture together to show that they don’t have any beef and represent peace. Later the responses she got was more than unexpected. A couple of days before the pageant she started out with getting threats from the Miss Iraq organization warning her to delete the photo or else she would be stripped from her title she had worked for. Because of the threats she was getting over the internet, the first thing she did was call her family who lives in Iraq. Idan says her mom was “freaking out” and even threatened herself by deciding whether or not to drop out of the competition, which is something she has wanted for a long time.. She also mentioned how she got death threats for wearing a bikini during one of the preliminary competitions, which caused Miss Universe organizers to remove those photos from the internet, and caused Idan to wear a more “modest” swimwear.

     “I can see why some people may be upset with her but that is no reason to say something so horrible to a person. She was just trying to show that even though the two of them have differences, they can still come together in unity in hopes for peace all around the world,” said Cynthia Oyervides (‘18).

      The selfie caused outrage because Iraq and Israel don’t have any formal diplomatic relations. Idan still refused to take the photo down and it is still up on her instagram: Sarahidan, where she also posted pictures with other Miss Universe contestants like, Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Egypt, and Miss Nigeria. A day later after Idan had posted the photo she had to make another post disclaiming that she does not support the Israeli government or it’s policies in the middle east and apologized to anyone who thought it was an attack for the Palestinian cause. To keep Idan’s family safe, Sarah didn’t mention any of this to the media so Sarah’s family and close friends could secretly leave Iraq because even her family was receiving death threats and were being recognized.

     “I think people took this way out of hand. It just looked like Sarah was trying to support other contestants and share some pictures but I guess some people took it the wrong way,” said Mariana Cardoso (‘19).

     Even though Idan posted that photo more than a month ago Idan still says she still receives threats to this day. Unfortunately she didn’t place in the pageant and returned to her LA home. Idan is now focusing on her career, aspiring to be singer and songwriter.