Project Runway season 16 contestant removed from show for cheating

For the second time in Project Runway history, a contestant has been booted from the show for cheating.

Last week’s episode of the reality show ended on a cliffhanger when designer Michael Brambila walked off the runway after host Heidi Klum announced contestant Claire Buitendorp’s was that week’s winner. Thursday’s episode picked up immediately after and showed both Brambila and fellow contestant Margarita Alvarez explaining to mentor Tim Gunn that Buitendorp had been unfairly re-creating designs.

The designers went back on the runway to explain the situation to Klum, judges Zac Posen and Nina Garcia, and guest judges Yolanda Hadid and Sophia Stallone. Heidi explained it’s against the rules to use the internet, but not against the rules to copy designs or use other designers’ looks as inspiration.

“There is no need for internet when you brought the pieces you’re ripping off,” Brambila said.

Klum reiterated Buitendorp’s win and explained she would receive $25,000 courtesy of challenge sponsor Dixie. Then Klum said contestant Batani-Khalfani was out.

In the waiting room, the designers confronted Buitendorp — who up until the week prior had been competing with her twin sister, Shawn — about keeping a measuring tape in the apartment. She did not deny it and said she wrote down four measurements for a tank top in episode 5.

When Gunn entered the room shortly after, he asked, “Is it true that you’ve had a measuring tape in your room?” and “Is it true that you’ve been measuring garments in your room?” She answered yes to both questions, so Gunn said the show was rescinding her win and sending her home.

In her final confessional, Claire said she was “regretful that I even considered the idea of holding on to something I shouldn’t have had.”

Claire is the second designer to be evicted due to cheating; Keith Michael was sent home in season 3 of Project Runway (when the show aired on Bravo) for keeping pattern-making books in the apartment.

Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
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