No trip to India is complete without a visit to the memorial to eternal love, the Taj Mahal. Just make sure you’re going to soak in the architectural majesty. All other ulterior motives should be left at the hotel.
Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, toured the popular attraction on Sunday (Oct. 6) and for the first hour she took in the monument like any other tourist would. Trouble arose when she reached the marble platform* near the Central Tank, a spot popular for picture-taking as the Taj Mahal can be seen prominently in the background.
At this point, reports say that her entourage brought out a bag full of footwear and Culpo posed wearing several different pairs. More shoes were photographed sitting on the bench beside her.
Unquestionably tacky, from the looks of things it also violated India’s Supreme Court directives prohibiting the Taj from being used for any branding or publicity purposes.
A police complaint was filed over the incident, but the official story is that the whole thing is a misunderstanding.
“The Miss Universe Organization would like to extend its deepest apologies to the people of India for the incident involving reigning Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo, which occurred at the Taj Mahal this past Sunday,” the Miss Universe organization says in a statement.
“Throughout her reign, the Miss Universe Organization continually creates video diaries of our titleholder to keep fans and sponsors up to date on her travels and to share in the experience. As part of these videos, we sometimes incorporate sponsors into these shoots.
“The filming that took place outside the Taj Mahal was never intended to be used as a commercial nor was it meant in any way to be disrespectful. We sincerely apologize for any unintentional harm our indiscretion and insensitivity may have caused.”
* Fun Fact: The bench Culpo posed on has been known as the Diana Seat since 1992 after Princess Diana was famously photographed there during an official state visit without her husband, Prince Charles. The royal couple separated later than year.