published : 2023-11-16

Miss Universe Organization Faces Bankruptcy Amid Controversy Over Transgender Owner

Miss Universe company files for bankruptcy just days before the pageant

A photo of Anne Jakrajutatip, the transgender owner of the Miss Universe Organization, confidently posing with the Miss Universe crown. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

The Miss Universe Organization, renowned for its global prominence and prestigious pageant, is now facing bankruptcy just days before the highly anticipated event.

The shocking news comes amidst a firestorm of controversy surrounding the organization's transgender owner, Anne Jakrajutatip.

The bankruptcy filing has ignited a heated debate about the social and moral implications of transgender inclusion in beauty pageants.

Emily Austin, a prominent judge for the 2022 Miss Universe pageant, expressed her belief that the outrage over a transgender woman being involved in the event played a significant role in the company's financial downfall.

"I think the outrage about a trans woman coming to Miss Universe and preaching, 'Bring the power back to women,' couldn't be more of an oxymoron," Austin boldly stated during an interview.

While acknowledging that the company had its own financial issues, Austin condemned the decision to involve a transgender owner on social and moral grounds.

Anne Jakrajutatip, a well-known Thai business tycoon and transgender activist, purchased the Miss Universe organization for a staggering $20 million in 2022.

Emily Austin, the judge for the 2022 Miss Universe pageant, analyzing a contestant's interview with utmost focus and attention. (Taken with Nikon D850)

At the time of the acquisition, Jakrajutatip hailed it as a strategic addition to her portfolio.

However, just a year later, the Miss Universe franchise finds itself teetering on the brink of instability.

A public document submitted to the Stock Exchange of Thailand revealed that JKN Global Group, the parent company of Miss Universe, has filed for business rehabilitation under the Bankruptcy Act.

This unexpected turn of events has not gone unnoticed, and fans of the pageant eagerly await updates on its future.

In the midst of this controversy, the Miss Universe Organization released a statement confirming that the 2023 pageant will still take place, but it will be held in El Salvador on November 18.

Undoubtedly, this change in location showcases the organization's commitment to providing an exceptional experience for its fans, despite the financial challenges it faces.

Adding further fuel to the debate, this year's Miss Universe pageant will feature at least two transgender contestants.

Marina Machete, the courageous transgender contestant from Portugal, radiating elegance and grace as she takes the Miss Universe stage. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Marina Machete from Portugal and Rikkie Kollé from the Netherlands will bravely participate as transgender women, following in the footsteps of Spain's Ángela Ponce, the first trans contestant in 2018.

Many, like Emily Austin, question whether transgender women should be allowed to compete in these esteemed events.

Austin argues that true women's empowerment is not achieved by diminishing the significance of women's industries by allowing biologically male individuals who identify as women to dominate.

She emphasizes that a contestant's life story and experiences shape their performance and that the experiences of transgender women may not align with those of biological women.

This thought-provoking discussion has captured the attention of audiences worldwide, with differing opinions on the matter.

As the Miss Universe Organization navigates its bankruptcy proceedings, the debate surrounding transgender inclusion in beauty pageants continues to generate impassioned dialogue.

The outcome of this bankruptcy filing will undoubtedly reshape the future of the organization and leave a lasting impact on the pageant's legacy.