Miss Universe cuts ties with Indonesia pageant over sexual assault claims | Indonesia

The global organiser of the Miss Universe beauty pageant has cut ties with its franchise in Indonesia days after several contestants alleged they had been sexually abused in the run-up to the competition’s crowning ceremony in Jakarta.

Six contestants in the Miss Universe Indonesia pageant are understood to have filed complaints with police, alleging that organisers asked contestants to strip down to their underwear for “a body check for scars and cellulite” two days before the ceremony in July.

Five women were then reportedly photographed topless in a hotel ballroom.

The US-based Miss Universe Organisation has now decided to terminate its relationship with its Indonesian franchisee, the beauty company PT Capella Swastika Karya, and its national director, Poppy Capella.

It is also going to cancel this year’s Miss Universe Malaysia, as that licence is also held by PT Capella Swastika Karya.

“In light of what we have learned took place at Miss Universe Indonesia, it has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards, ethics or expectations,” the Miss Universe Organisation posted on social media.

Capella said in a statement on Instagram that she does not condone any form of sexual harassment and denied her involvement. “I, as the national director and as the owner of the Miss Universe Indonesia licence, was not involved at all and have never known, ordered, requested or allowed anyone who played a role and participated in the Miss Universe Indonesia 2023 process to commit violence or sexual harassment through body checking,” she wrote.

Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko, a spokesperson for Jakarta police, told reporters at a press conference that an investigation into the women’s complaints has been launched.

Police are understood to be examining surveillance cameras from the scene and interviewing the alleged victims.

The competition in Jakarta was won by Fabienne Nicole Groeneveld. Miss Universe said it would ensure she could compete in the final, to be held in El Salvador in November.

The Miss Universe Organisation said in a statement that it was evaluating its policies and procedures to avoid similar occurrences in the future, adding that it wanted to “make it extremely clear that there are no measurements such as height, weight, or body dimensions required to join a Miss Universe pageant worldwide”.

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