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Former Miss Great Britain Says Decision To Remove Her Title Was Wrong

"Miss Great Britain did not tell me I couldn’t have sex on the show [ITV's Love Island]."

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Last week, pageant bosses announced Zara Holland had been stripped of her Miss Great Britain crown after she had sex on the ITV show Love Island.

zaraholland / Via instagram.com

Afterwards, many people accused the beauty pageant of being "sexist" and "old-fashioned", including Love Island's presenter, Caroline Flack.

Feel even more sorry for Zara now she's been de-crowned. She's a very sweet girl . What even is 'miss GB' ? Are we living in the dark ages ?

Holland has since left the show as her mother is unwell and has now criticised the pageant for its decision.

In an interview with The Sun, Holland said the Miss Great Britain organisers gave her a written letter of permission to participate in Love Island, and didn't outline any rules.

zaraholland / Via instagram.com

"I am very disappointed. I haven’t committed a crime,” Holland said. “There is nothing wrong with having sex on TV. Miss Great Britain did not tell me I couldn’t have sex on the show."

She described the pageant's decision to remove her title as "horrific". The 20 year-old boutique owner explained that she didn't feel "pressured" in any way to engage in any activities while she was on the show.

Holland said she channelled “so much time and effort” into her Miss Great Britain brand. "All of the things Miss Great Britain claims to stand for have been used against me,” she said.

On Tuesday night's episode of Love Island, former pageant winner Sophie Gradon addressed the situation. "Life shouldn't be about judging. [People] have to accept the simple fact women like to have sex," Gradon said.

ITV / Via ITV

Gradon was Miss Great Britain 2009 and Miss Newcastle 2008. She said Holland is "a young woman who hasn't harmed anyone. It's time people move forward from their old-fashioned ways."

The removal of Holland's title prompted outrage, and a petition calling for her crown to be returned has been signed over 17,000 times.

Many people continue to support Holland and hope the pageant bosses change their mind.

Love Island is not the same without @ZaraHolland11. But family is more important. Always miss GB to me. Hope ur mam is ok too. X

Feel so sad watching @zaraholland11 cry like that! That miss Great Britain contest should be ashamed of themselves! Complete bullies

Zara Holland is a sexually empowered woman and doesn't deserve this kind of public embarrassment - wouldn't happen to a man #everydaysexism

Do think it's well out of order that Zara's had her title taken off her though, girls have sex too get the fuck over it #LoveIsland

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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