However, Harvey decided to bring it all back up this week with a two-part special on his syndicated daytime talk show, "Steve Harvey." On Monday, he sat down with Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach. On Tuesday, he had a timid conversation with Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez. On Wednesday, we hoped and wondered: Does all of this mean that Harvey can finally move on?
Harvey is still wrestling with a lot of demons over what happened, as the special's tone was a weird mix of defensive and pathetic. On one hand, Harvey says he has lost sleep over the humiliation he caused to both finalists, and his family has received death threats due to his mistake. On the other, the whole incident was major free publicity for not only the pageant but also his show. It seemed like there was one thing (ratings!) on his mind booking these interviews.
Although he billed the episodes as a way to finally hear from Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines ("Two women were thrust into this controversy through no fault of their own," he intoned), this was clearly his own personal damage control. During both shows, he had members of his audience stand up and ask pre-planned questions: Did he wish he had just never corrected himself? Was it all a publicity stunt? Was he drunk and/or not at rehearsal like certain tabloid websites implied?
Answers: Yes, there were days he wished he had never corrected himself on stage. No, it wasn't a publicity stunt, because he would have never wanted the ensuing backlash on his family. No, he was not drunk, and yes, he was at every single rehearsal and table read and run-through for the show.
Then he had both women publicly forgive him on air, tears in his eyes as he apologized to both of them. "Is Miss Colombia willing to forgive Steve?" the voiceover asked at the beginning of Tuesday's episode, which boasted Harvey's mix-up as "the highest-publicized incident of 2015." To recap, the show re-aired the agonizing footage of Harvey announcing the wrong name several times, as well as the moment the crown was removed from Miss Colombia's head and given to Miss Philippines.
In case you're wondering, Gutierrez, Miss Colombia, isn't laughing about this yet. "It was so harsh to watch the show, like, waving my little Colombian flag," Gutierrez said to Harvey, as the footage showed her in the few minutes she thought she won, beaming and waving. She told Harvey that the Latin community — which takes the pageant very seriously — was humiliated. "In the beginning, I was blaming God … why, God, would you do that?"
Harvey, who looked relieved the blame wasn't all on him, listened intently as Gutierrez explained that now she's starting to understand that the reason for the horrifying incident was bigger than the Miss Universe pageant. "I'm a role model for my country," she explained.
Harvey concurred, and there was a long back-and-forth about whether she forgave him — Gutierrez said she does, though chastised him for his reading-comprehension skills. "You have to learn how to read cards," she told him.
There was an awkward moment when Harvey asked whether the rumors of a lawsuit were true. Gutierrez hedged a bit while Harvey looked frightened, but eventually she laughed, teasing him, "I'm not going to take your car … your mansion." She confirmed many lawyers reached out to her in the aftermath, but she declined. "I never thought of suing," she said. "That's not me, that's not who I am."
On Monday, Harvey also made sure that Wurtzbach, Miss Philippines, forgave him as well — and had her confirm to the audience that he was present at every rehearsal. Miss USA Olivia Jordan was also in the crowd so she could tell Harvey he had done the best he could under the circumstances: "Steve, I think you handled it perfectly!" she said.
Meanwhile, Harvey turned most of his attention to Wurtzbach. "I wish we all could have gotten it right that night. I want you to know that," he said.
Wurtzbach said she's also been trying to move on and emphasized that she also feels sorry for Miss Colombia. Finally, she had enough. "Steve, don't beat yourself up for this anymore, let's move forward, let's be happy," she told the host. Noticing his relieved expression, she asked, "Oh, is that what you were waiting for?!"
It definitely was. "As strong as I try to be, this has been a dogfight," Harvey admitted. "It's so crazy. I want some healing to be done, for you and Miss Colombia, more than anything."
And we expect people will move on … until the pageant inevitably announces that Harvey will be back as host again.