Lobster Fest sea goddess dethroned

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Organizers of one of Maine’s highest profile summer events who decided to strip a lobster pageant winner of her title over online photos said Monday they’re dealing with death threats and backlash.

The 2018 Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess was dethroned not long after she was crowned, Aug. 1, because of what organizers described as photos of “inappropriate behavior.” Photos showed 18-year-old pageant winner Taylor Hamlin holding a marijuana cigarette and a vaping device, organizers said.

Since then, people involved in organizing the festival have received everything from mocking comments on Facebook to death threats, said Celia Knight, a member of the volunteer executive committee that runs the event.

Knight and others also believe that more local residents stayed away from the event, which typically attracts tens of thousands of people, because of the ill will.

“It’s been pretty brutal,” said Knight, who said she and her family have been harassed even though she voted against stripping Hamlin of the title. “A so-called friend even said she was burning all of her lobster festival shirts.”

The lobster festival happens every year in Rockland, 80 miles up the coast from Portland.