Tongue in cheek, Miss Universe host says 'Merry Easter'

 Host Steve Harvey speaks to the audience after Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was wrongly crowned Miss Universe.
Host Steve Harvey speaks to the audience after Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was wrongly crowned Miss Universe.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Steve Harvey, the man who famously gave the Miss Universe crown to the wrong contestant, has now offered the world Easter greetings - on Christmas Day.

"Merry Easter, y'all!" ran the caption to a picture of smiling Harvey, smoking a cigar and flashing a peace sign. The picture was posted Friday (Dec 25) on Harvey's social media accounts.

Harvey poked fun at himself - and his gaffes - in his first public appearance since the high-profile fiasco.

Harvey, a 58 year-old comedian and talkshow host, misread his cue card in front of a global television audience at the Miss Universe pageant on Dec 20 and announced that Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, had triumphed.

Moments later he apologised and announced Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was the actual winner.

Harvey apologised on Twitter for what he called "an honest mistake," but identified the women as "Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia." He quickly corrected the spelling mistakes and deleted the tweet.

Viewers can expect to see a lot more of him: "Steve Harvey Signs Multi-Year Deal to Host Miss Universe" ran the headline on the website Comedyhype.com. Harvey posted a link to the site on his Facebook page.

The contract was signed just before the pageant aired, and the deal "is for at least three years, possibly even as many as six or seven," read the brief text, quoting an ET Online story.

After the pageant mixup several people took to Twitter to claim that the affair was a publicity stunt aimed at boosting both Harvey and the event's sagging TV ratings.

"I generally don't buy into conspiracy theories, but this is the most attention the Miss Universe pageant has gotten since, well, ever," said newspaper sportswriter Les East.

"Steve Harvey's mistake was all a conspiracy created for two purposes: Make Miss Universe relevant again. Make Steve Harvey relevant again," another tweet said.

The online magazine Salon dismissed the doubters as "Miss Universe truthers" - an American term for conspiracy theory devotees - that "show how paranoid we've become."