Big Brother season 24 winner Taylor Hale came forward with allegations that former Miss USA vice president Max Sebrechts sexually harassed her the morning after the November 2021 pageant.
“What I’m really concerned about are deeper issues that happened with the current ownership of Miss USA,” Hale, 27, said on the Thursday, October 27, episode of the “Reality Steve” podcast. “I don’t care about allegations of favoritism. I care about allegations of sexual harassment.”
She revealed, “This is the first time I’m going on the record saying this.”
Hale had been Miss Michigan USA that year but didn’t make it to the Top 16 at Miss USA. “[Sebrechts] DMs me on Instagram and says, ‘You did a good job, so proud of you,’” Hale recalled. “He invites me to the presidential suite. I decline.”
She later ran into him in her hotel lobby while carrying her “big and heavy” state costume. Hale said Sebrechts, 42, offered to help carry the garment to her room, which she accepted.
“There was a protocol in place where if you were being escorted to your room, the person who was escorting you would stop at the elevator bank and watch you go down the hallway to your room,” she explained. “He did not stop at the elevator bank, he continued to go into the room. He placed the costume in the room in the entry corridor, and then he walked all the way in and proceeded to sit down, have a conversation with me. None of this felt really threatening, but it was definitely uncomfortable. Like, he should not have been lingering.”
Hale alleged that Sebrechts’ inappropriate behavior continued to cross the line further. “Then when he stood up he gave me some very sexually, intimate types of hugs. Like, they were very intimate, pretty sexual,” she said. “He’s whispering in my ear telling me you know, I’m so beautiful, so gorgeous. He kisses the corner of my mouth trying to play it off like it’s my cheek and I just — I’m just frozen. I’m not doing anything but he’s clearly waiting for me to make the next move. He does this twice and then finally I get him to leave the room.”
Sebrechts, who married former Miss USA Crystle Stewart in 2014, is no longer with the organization. Hale said she didn’t say anything earlier due to her standing with Miss USA and Sebrechts’ firing.
“So ultimately, as of early January … he was finally removed from the organization. I was still a title holder of the organization. I was still Miss Michigan USA until May of that year. So I didn’t want to blow this up. I didn’t want to make the biggest deal out of it, but I was made aware that there may have been were other women, whether they were from my year or from other years … What’s more important to me is that he is dealt with. What’s more important to me is that those allegations are taken seriously. Frankly, I don’t care about issues of pending potential rigging of a pageant when you have someone who has access to young women, whether they be Miss [USA] contestants or [Miss Teen USA] contestants.”
She added that other women has similar experiences with the executive. “It all felt too practiced and comfortable. …I didn’t want to believe it but I knew that there would be more. And there are more,” Hale said.
Several women anonymously came forward earlier this month with similar accusations, many giving screenshots of inappropriate messages allegedly sent by Sebrechts to the New York Post.
Miss Universe, the parent organization of Miss USA, told The Post that the organization was “made aware of the allegations against Max Sebrechts regarding his behavior towards 2021 Miss USA contestants” in December.
“Upon learning this, Miss Universe Organization conducted a review, which resulted in Max being completely removed from any affiliation with the Miss USA organization in January 2022,” the rep added. “Five months after he had been removed, in June 2022, Miss Universe Organization was made aware that Max had an extramarital relationship in 2018, in which graphic text messages and images were exchanged, two years before his wife, Crystle Stewart, was awarded the Miss USA license.”