Anderson Cooper is the source of a minor controversy in Peru this week after he laughed at Miss Peru Cindy Mejia’s “national costume” on CNN.
Mejia wore an ensemble designed by Ricardo Dávila that was meant to be a stylized depiction of traditional clothing worn by women in the Mantaro Valley. RPP Noticias reports that Dávila was recognized by Peru’s national congress in 2009 as a “designer of traditional costumes for the new millennium.”
However, it seems that Cooper took issue less with the actual clothing worn by Mejia and more with a prop that she carried with her: a plastic baby doll she carried on her back in a traditional sling. “What says Peru more than colorful flowers and what appears to be a plastic little old man baby on her shoulder wearing a hat?” says Cooper on the segment, just before bursting into laughter.
A number of Peruvian media outlets (RPP, America TV, NetJoven.pe, Trome, and others) have reported on the incident with an air of indignance. While some commenters on those sites seem outraged by Cooper’s “ignorant” comments, others wonder what all the fuss is about.
Peru was not the only country whose national costume was subjected to scrutiny by Cooper. Miss Chile came under fire, as well as Miss Canada, who dressed as a Mountie, and Miss Great Britain, who seemed to be going for a sexy Queen Elizabeth I look.
Miss USA, however, received a positive response from Cooper for her Optimus Prime-inspired getup: “Is she a patriotic robot? Is she a transformer?” he wondered.
Click here to watch the segment in question.
What do you think? Were Cooper’s comments offensive, or has the response been much ado about nothing? Let us know your thoughts in this week’s poll.