The Miss Universe Organization (MUO), head of the Miss Universe beauty pageant, has officially cut ties with its Indonesian franchise after several contestants accused its Southeast Asian organizers of sexual abuse.
Their decision: The MUO broke the news in an X post on Saturday, announcing the termination of its relationship with the Indonesian franchise, PT Capella Swastika Karya, and its national director, Poppy Capella.
Key details: Six contestants of Miss Universe Indonesia have reportedly filed a sexual harassment case against the franchise for sexual harassment, their lawyer, Mellisa Anggraeni, announced on Tuesday. Indonesian authorities also confirmed the report filing, which is now being investigated, according to Reuters.
According to the accusation, five of the six contestants were allegedly subjected to “body checks” and asked to strip down to their underwear for physical examinations inside a room packed with 20 people, including men. They were also allegedly photographed topless, and one of the complainants alleged that she was asked to pose inappropriately with her legs open.
What the MUO is saying: Amid the allegations, the MUO stated, “It has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards, ethics or expectations.”
Their response: Responding to the accusation, Capella claimed in an Instagram post that she was unaware of the “process to commit violence or sexual harassment through body checking,” noting that she was not involved, nor had she “allowed anyone who played a role and participated” in the alleged harassment.
Additional news: Besides cutting ties with Miss Universe Indonesia, the MUO also announced the cancellation of this year’s Miss Universe Malaysia, which is also organized by PT Capella Swastika Karya.
“To the women who came forward from the Indonesia pageant – we’re sorry that this was your experience with our organization,” the company wrote. “We appreciate your bravery in speaking out, and we pledge to do better in the future.”