Lingerie wrestling video causes queen to resign

The Grand Rapids Press

GREENVILLE — Posing with her court Aug. 12, the newly crowned Danish Festival queen looked the part: beaming, proud, holding a flower bouquet.

The reign of Carissa Akkerhuis ended less than two weeks later as word leaked she had appeared in videos clad in lingerie and fighting or wrestling with men or other women.

The 19-year-old’s resignation Thursday is the first time in anyone’s memory a festival queen has quit under such circumstances. The four-day festival — Aug. 17-20 this year — annually draws as many as 75,000 people to Greenville.

"I don’t believe it has happened before," Danish Festival President Norice Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen would not comment on the reason for Akkerhuis’ resignation, but noted pageant contestants sign a contract agreeing to represent the festival and community as a role model.

The local contest is affiliated with the Miss Michigan pageant, with the winner competing at the state level for the chance to compete in the Miss America competition.

The loss of the crown also means Akkerhuis relinquishes more than $2,000 in scholarships.

Greenville resident Kim Akkerhuis said he stands by his daughter "100 percent."

"She did absolutely nothing wrong," said Akkerhuis, who considers the videos a legitimate way to teach self-defense techniques. "If it’s immoral to protect ourselves in martial arts, then where are we going with this?"

The videos are produced by a Grand Rapids company and distributed through various Web sites.

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