Comedian Steve Harvey has shot down reports suggesting he purposely messed up the Miss Universe finale as part of a publicity stunt, insisting he made a genuine mistake.
The TV personality was left red-faced at the Las Vegas beauty pageant last month when he wrongly named Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo the winner, when she was actually the first runner-up. The crown had to be removed from her head on live television moments later, as Harvey returned to the stage and apologized for the confusion. After which, he announced Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach as the new Miss Universe titleholder.
Miss Colombia was crowned the new Miss Universe when host Steve Harvey mistakenly named her the winner instead of first runner-up during the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on December 20, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The incident went viral and became a hot topic on social media, with some questioning whether the embarrassing mix-up had been staged to raise Harvey's profile.
However, he has since spoken out to dismiss the claims.
"Why the hell would I do that?" he asked on Monday's episode of his radio program The Steve Harvey Morning Show. He added: "I'm already famous. Do you really think I wanted to be famous like this?"
Recalling the chaos that ensued after he read out the wrong winner, Harvey said, "I got a guy in my ear saying, 'We gotta do something! We gotta do something!' That's all I'm hearing—all the confusion of everybody backstage. So I took it upon myself and I walked out there to do something."
"Did I make a mistake?" he continued. "Yes, I did. Wholeheartedly. [But] at this point in the game, I'm not in the finger pointing business and rolling other people under the bus."
Despite the botch, Miss Universe chief Mark Shapiro recently insisted he would "absolutely" welcome Steve back as host for the 2016 bash, a notion which has already won the backing of Pia herself.
Meanwhile, Miss Colombia has blasted event bosses for the way the gaffe was handled.
In a new interview with Spanish-language TV network Univision, she revealed she "cried a ton that night" and raged, "In four minutes, they destroy your dreams; they throw it in a bag and they throw it in the trash. They could have done it another way. I feel like it doesn't matter to them, the feelings of a girl who has worked her whole life for a dream."
(Main image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)