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Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Letterman appeases Miss Colombia
Andrea Noceti with the Columbian Consul in New York
Noceti arrives in New York on Wednesday
Colombia's top beauty queen - who threatened to sue US talk show host David Letterman for an on air joke linking her to drugs smuggling - is to appear on the show on Thursday.

On 11 May Letterman joked that Andrea Noceti's top talent in the then forthcoming Miss Universe competition would be to swallow heroin.

Noceti retaliated saying that she was "outraged" by the quip - that Letterman had insulted all Colombians and made light of the country's civil war.

There was no intention to offend her or the people of Colombia

David Letterman
Letterman apologised for the joke and invited Noceti - who was knocked out of the Miss Universe competition in the first round - to appear on his show as a gesture of appeasement.

Colombian community leaders confirmed Noceti has agreed to appear on the show on Thursday.

Special 'talent'

In his CBS network show's opening monologue Letterman said Noceti had swallowed bagged heroin - a common method for smuggling the drug - to impress Miss Universe judges during the event's 'talent' competition.

"I don't know if you've seen a beauty pageant lately, but you know what's really gotten very impressive, the talent competition," Letterman said.

David Letterman
Letterman invited Ms Noceti onto his show
"For example, Miss Colombia - and this was hard to beat - swallowed 50 balloons full of heroin."

The joke has infuriated many people in Colombia, who say that are tired of being stereotyped as drug traffickers when travelling abroad.

An official protest from Colombia's consul in New York was lodged and members of the US Colombian community threatened to protest outside the CBS television network.

Noceti herself had said she was considering sueing Letterman.

Colombians are caught in a bloody three-way war between Marxist guerrillas, outlawed right-wing militias and the army.

The country is the world's top producer of cocaine and is a major supplier of heroin for the US market.

The Letterman apology said "there was no intention to offend her or the people of Colombia".

See also:

27 Apr 01 | Europe
Miss or monsieur prank revealed
18 Apr 01 | Middle East
Army chic for Israeli beauty queen
18 Dec 00 | South Asia
Miss World defends beauty contests
16 May 01 | TV and Radio
Miss Colombia to sue Letterman
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