Mental health agency dumps Miss Universe Thailand for condemning police brutality

Only a few days after the Department of Mental Health appointed Amanda Obdam as its brand ambassador, it gave her the boot after she spoke critically of state violence used against the pro-democracy movement. 

Crowned Miss Universe Thailand last year, Amanda Obdam on Tuesday afternoon was dismissed after she expressed disgust at images showing security forces appearing to assault medical volunteers in the street. For that, the department said she spread “conflict and discomfort.”

“The Department of Mental Health acknowledges people’s concerns and it cannot proceed with [Amanda’s] mission that may cause conflict and discomfort among the people … therefore we have terminated Amanda’s brand ambassadorship from this point onward,” the statement reads. 

Amanda was given the title only Thursday. Pro-government elements criticized the move, saying it was wrong to appoint a “nation-hater” – a popular term among conservative royalists for those pressing for social and government reform.

Unlike many risk-averse beauty queens, the 27-year-old Thai-Canadian has been vocal on social media. She has tweeted about cases of forced disappearances and criticized police violence ever since October when officers first deployed chemical-laced water cannons against protesters at the Pathumwan Intersection. 

“Protesting is never a disturbance of the peace. Corruption, injustice, war and intimidation are disturbances of the peace,” she wrote last month, quoting American author-activist Bryant McGill.

After police officers were filmed stomping a volunteer medic on the ground on Feb. 14, Amanda spoke out again.

“DISGUSTING BEHAVIOR. Where is the humanity? #PoliceBeatMedicalWorker,” she tweeted. “How can we talk about love when there’s still violence on the street?” 

Amanda could not immediately be reached for comment and had yet to react publicly to the news.

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