The Miss Universe organization has cut ties with its Indonesia franchise following allegations of sexual harassment, leading to the cancellation of an upcoming Malaysia edition. The decision comes after more than half a dozen women lodged complaints that all 30 finalists of Miss Universe Indonesia were unexpectedly asked to strip for a purported body check for scars and cellulite just two days before the crowning ceremony in Jakarta.
The complainants’ lawyer revealed that five of the women had their pictures taken during this incident. In response to these developments, the US-based Miss Universe organization released a statement on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) on Saturday night, expressing disappointment that the Indonesian franchise did not meet their brand standards, ethics, or expectations.
The organization stated its decision to terminate its relationship with the current Indonesian franchise, PT Capella Swastika Karya, and its national director, Poppy Capella. The Miss Universe organization commended the courage of the contestants who came forward and emphasized that providing a safe environment for women is their top priority.
In response to the allegations, an investigation has been initiated by Jakarta police spokesperson Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko. The Indonesia franchise, which also oversees the Miss Universe Malaysia license, has confirmed that there will be no competition in Malaysia this year.
In a comprehensive Instagram statement, Indonesia franchise director Capella denied any involvement in the body checks. She asserted that she, as the national director and owner of the Miss Universe Indonesia license, was not implicated in or aware of any actions related to violence or sexual harassment through body checking during the organization of Miss Universe Indonesia 2023. Capella emphasized her opposition to violence and sexual harassment.
The Jakarta competition, which took place from July 29 to August 3, aimed to select Indonesia’s representatives for the 2023 Miss Universe contest. Fabienne Nicole Groenveld emerged as the winner. Miss Universe has assured arrangements for her participation in the finale scheduled for November in El Salvador.
This year’s Indonesia pageant had faced criticism for altering competition guidelines, including the elimination of minimum height requirements after crowning a winner. In response, the Miss Universe organization clarified that there are no specific measurements such as height, weight, or body dimensions required to participate in a Miss Universe pageant worldwide.