The Department of Mental Health has fired Miss Universe Thailand 2020, Amanda Obdam, as its mental health ambassador, citing public concerns about the beauty queen’s views on Thailand’s political situation.
Her dismissal was announced in a press release published on the department’s official Facebook page, with immediate effect.
The statement quoted the department’s director-general, Panpimol Wipulakorn, as saying the department’s mental health ambassador should not do anything which may cause conflict and division in Thai society, in an apparent reference to Amanda’s stance on the recent political unrest gripping the nation.
The 28-year-old Thai-Canadian model from Phuket was crowned Miss Universe Thailand 2020 on 10th October last year, when anti-government protests were beginning to escalate.
On 16th October, as authorities dispersed anti-government protesters in Bangkok, she took to her social media account to express her disapproval of all forms of violence.
Amanda became the department’s mental health ambassador, as the department had agreed with the pageant’s organisers to name the winner as an ambassador.
In the statement, Dr Wipulakorn rejected reports that the decision to appoint Amanda as the department’s mental health ambassador on 25th February was “a favour” to anyone, saying she was chosen with the task of encouraging people to be good listeners and raising public awareness on mental health problems in the country.
Thanyawat Kamonwongwat, a Move Forward Party MP, said the decision to strip Amanda of her ambassador role was taken after she aired her political views, which reflected the government’s authoritarian nature.