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Steve Harvey Admits to ‘Big Hesitation’ Over T-Mobile Super Bowl Ad: Miss Universe Flap ‘Hasn’t Been Funny’

Too soon? Steve Harvey starred in a buzzed-about Super Bowl 50 ad on Sunday, February 7, poking fun at his now-infamous Miss Universe pageant gaffe, but he tells Us Weekly exclusively that he almost pulled the plug on the idea.

Harvey, 59, tells Us that T-Mobile approached him about starring in a commercial that would mock the December incident in which he accidentally announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner, instead of actual winner Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach. But Harvey bristled when a company rep referred to the mishap as a “funny thing that happened.”

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“I said, ‘Whoa, let’s stop right there. First of all, it wasn’t funny at all when it happened. I’ve laughed at it now, but it hasn’t been funny,'” Harvey says. “I had big hesitation. … So it had to be something tastefully done, and it couldn’t be anything to slam those ladies in any way.”

Ultimately, he said the company was great about incorporating some of his ideas into the ad, and he is pleased with how it turned out.

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“It was just an opportunity for me to go on and laugh at myself a bit,” he continues. “Everybody else laughed, so now I get a chance to laugh at myself.”

Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey

Looking back on the pageant, Harvey says that, contrary to any speculation that the incident could have been a publicity stunt, he actually “didn’t appreciate the publicity at all.” He is glad that he and Gutierrez were able to bury the hatchet on a Steve Harvey Show episode last month, along with the fact that the pageant has led to more opportunities for the runner-up than she might have otherwise had.

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“Hopefully, this turns out to be her Taylor Swift moment,” he says, referring to the pop singer’s explosion of popularity following Kanye West stealing the microphone from her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

As for whether Harvey would agree to host the pageant in the future, he says there would need to be a key change made.

“I’d do it again, but it’d be different precautions,” he says. “No. 1: You got to do it that night the way we rehearsed it in the show. If you do it the way we rehearsed it, [the mistake] never happens. That’s the first thing we gonna get straight. … No more hanging me out to dry.”

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