Steve Harvey candidly opened up about his 2015 Miss Universe infamous gaffe on April 1 during an interview with Kevin Hart on his “Comedy Gold Minds” podcast which aired on SiriusXM LOL Radio. The comedians talked about Harvey’s extensive résumé when Hart mentioned the Miss Universe pageant.
In the recording, the daytime television host explained that he shouldn’t have “taken the bullet” for something that wasn’t his fault. “I knew it was bad when it happened. … It wasn’t my fault, so, like, I was tripping, man. Well, I wish I hadn’t took the bullet like I did.”
Harvey continued by mentioning how in rehearsal both he and the pageant producers agreed that in order to make the announcement climactic he should start by presenting from the second runner-up, which would then leave two people — first runner-up and Miss Universe — on the stage.
“I went to rehearsal, and we only rehearsed two names they decided when they bought the pageant from Donald Trump. So they decided that instead of going ‘the second runner-up is’ and ‘the first runner-up is,’ and then Miss Universe, they said we’ll announce the second runner-up and then we’ll have standing there the first runner-up and Miss Universe, and we’ll do it that way.”
Around the same time the Miss Universe pageant had just been bought by a Hollywood talent agency called Endeavor Group Holdings (WME/IMG) from Donald Trump following his derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants while he was campaigning for president in 2015.
The 64-year-old said his mishap occurred because an unknown woman who worked with the pageant in the past when Trump owned it decided at the last minute to add a third runner-up, all unbeknownst to Harvey.
“Well, the lady that did the show when Trump owned it, she decided on the night of, after two days of rehearsal, ‘I’m putting the third name on there,’ and they printed it on the card.”
He added that following the unknown change, “Well, in the teleprompter after I announced the second runner-up the teleprompter said ‘and the new 2015 Miss Universe is,’ [and] the dude in my ear said, ‘Read the next name on the card, Steve,’ I look at the next card, I said Miss Colombia.”
Harvey told Hart that after his blunder producers said to him without elaborating, “go in the back.” It was there he was informed by one of his entourage members that he had announced the wrong winner instead of Miss Philippines.
“That white boy said, ‘Good job, Steve go in the back.’ I go all the way in the back. I’m sitting there, and the Black dude that I have doing all my shows came to me and said, ‘Big dog, you said the wrong name.’ I said, ‘Man, the f–k you talking about? I didn’t say the wrong name. I’ve read the name that was on the f–king card. He said, ‘Man, they put a third name on the card.’ ‘B—h, ain’t nobody told me.’ I’m really back there cussing these people, so I said I’m gonna go out here and fix it.”
When the comedian suggested to go back on stage to right his wrongs, he was initially told “no.” “They said, ‘No, Steve, we’ll straighten it out tomorrow morning in the newspaper. I said, ‘That’s bulls–t, dawg. This lady deserves her crown.’ I took my stupid ass — I should have let them announce it the next day, I wouldn’t have caught none of the hell I caught — I took my stupid ass back out there and I said hey, I made a mistake.”
The day after the Miss Universe pageant, Harvey recalled making the “headlines in every country.” He also mentioned how people were throwing rocks at his Atlanta property.
“Man, when I woke up the next morning it was everywhere it was the headline in every country and it was the worst week of my life man in the show business,” Harvey said. “I mean, man, them boys was driving by my house. I lived in Atlanta and had a little gate in front of my house. They were throwing rocks over the gate with notes on it. You know, it was calling me names. I don’t know Spanish, but I know puta, they call you puta a lot of times. I know that ain’t good, because it was puta in all the notes and all the texts.”
After all of the scrutiny for the gaffe, Harvey went on to host the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Miss Universe pageants, where he claimed it had the “highest ratings.”
“I just hung in, and then the next year we had the highest ratings ever, because everybody was tuning in to see what I was going to say. … But all the girls was happy because all of them knew they had a chance of being in Miss Universe.”