Miss Universe Organization CEO embroiled in ‘fake inclusivity’ issue

Patricia Dela Roca - The Philippine Star
Miss Universe Organization CEO embroiled in �fake inclusivity� issue
Miss Universe Organization CEO, trans-Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip, with reigning Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios from Nicaragua.

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) issued an official statement defending its integrity following recent controversies surrounding the Miss Universe pageant.

In a statement released on its official website, the MUO addressed what it called “malicious attempts by certain individuals to tarnish the reputation” of the organization.

The allegations were said to have involved the “manipulation of digital content and the distortion of facts, all with the apparent aim of jeopardizing the organization for personal gain.”

“We wish to assure our supporters, sponsors, and partners that these actions will not derail us from our mission,” the statement further read.

The organization emphasized its commitment to addressing such allegations through legal channels and pledged to take all necessary actions to counteract the misinformation being spread.

“We wish to assure our supporters, sponsors, and partners that these actions will not derail us from our mission. Our commitment to inclusion and transparency remains steadfast, and we will take all necessary legal action to address these unethical attempts to besmirch our organization,” MUO assured supporters.

The message also highlighted the leadership of its CEO, trans-Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip, lauding her for “fostering a climate of freedom and equality through her actions” within the organization.

The MUO went on to state the “principles of transparency and loyalty to its National Directors,” ensuring the “free and independent selection” of delegates who will represent their nations on the pageant stage.

The MUO also made a declaration regarding “expressions of beauty”, saying, “We wholeheartedly embrace and defend the expression of beauty in its various forms.

“We urge our supporters to stand firmly with us in upholding these ideals, demonstrating through our actions a commitment to women’s empowerment and resisting any attempts to suppress these values.”

The Miss Universe Organization concluded its statement by reinforcing its dedication to offering equal opportunities and celebrating the beauty found in every individual, regardless of background or ethnicity.

“Together, we will safeguard the principles of inclusivity, transparency, and integrity, ensuring that they remain central to all of our efforts,” it read.

While the official statement didn’t mention any specific issues, Jakrajutatip recently drew flak from online users and pageant fans over a leaked video that allegedly carried her statements about certain pageant contestants having “no chance of winning” despite promoting “inclusivity”.

One of those who reacted was Miss Nepal 2023 Jane Dipika Garrett who became the first plus-size contestant from her country to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in November 2023.

“Honey, I knew it was rigged from the moment I was on stage. I realized us ‘inclusion’ girls weren’t ever gonna get a real chance to win.”

The viral footage in question allegedly showed Jakrajutatip, who acquired MUO in 2022, Raul Rocha Cantu, the franchise owner of Miss Universe Mexico, and other unnamed individuals having a conversation that supposedly touched on the pageant’s efforts on inclusivity.

Jakrajutatip allegedly said that the decision to remove the age limit for Miss Universe candidates and allow any woman to participate, and presenting it as a move towards inclusivity and female empowerment to strengthen the pageant’s appeal, were part of a “communication strategy.”

It can be recalled that in September 2023, MUO officially announced the “removal of all age restrictions across all Miss Universe and associated pageants,” as reported by Philippine STAR. The organization previously only allowed women between the ages of 18 and 28 to compete in the beauty pageant.

However, in the viral clip, the pageant owner was allegedly heard saying, “The trans women, women with husbands, divorced women…now that we changed the age limit, they can now (participate).”

“This is a communication strategy because they can compete, but they cannot win,” she added.

Some participants in the meeting were also heard agreeing with her perspective.

One person was heard stating: “We also want to have girls that like fashion, even though we know they can compete but they cannot win.”

The video also showed the MUO head discussing her plans for an alleged reality show, intending to feature “32 to 33 real-size beauty” and “very big size” contestants.

While the participants agreed that many viewers will relate to such a program,  Jakrajutatip, “You already know who’s the winner…”

She also went on to hint at numerous expansion plans for MUO, reiterating her interest in releasing a reality show focused on “female empowerment”.

Despite claiming to welcome women of all shapes and ages, Jakrajutatip supposedly emphasized the importance of qualities such as charisma, stating, “If you have connection, charisma that leads to product sales… It’s all connected. All connected for money.”

The leaked video gained international attention and featured on a Mexican TV show. The upcoming Miss Universe 2024 is scheduled to take place in Mexico in November.

An official statement came from Jakrajutatip after the leaked video became a hot topic online.

On her verified Facebook page, Jakrajutatip addressed the leaked video, saying it was “maliciously edited” and taken “out of context”, leading to “public confusion, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and wrong conclusion.”

“I hope the world would not go round by this nonsense soap opera alike. I still don’t comprehend why this man, who I was so nice to, would like to jeopardize me and the organization while we were talking about one of the new reality show episodes, not the pageantry itself,” Jakrajutatip wrote.

Jakrajutatip questioned the motives behind the attempt to jeopardize her image and the organization. Despite the challenges, she believes in the strength of “strong clever fans who can distinguish what is real or not”.

“We always have the kind supporters who genuinely love the MUO brand and believe in our core value of promoting diversity. I’m a trans woman and a mother myself who all my life fought for the gender equality rights to be where I am,” she expressed.

Jakrajutatip concluded her post by expressing her willingness to forgive the person who leaked the footage, highlighting the “need for love in the world.”

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