In the wake of a scandal in which various Miss USA contestants alleged that the 2022 Miss USA pageant was rigged in favor of Miss Texas, the Miss Universe organization, which suspended the organizers of the Miss USA pageant, was bought by a transgender person from Thailand.
Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, CEO and biggest shareholder of JKN Global Group Public Company Limited, bought the Miss Universe organization for $20 million from Endeavor’s IMG. The Miss Universe pageant, originated in 1952, had previously been owned by Donald Trump starting in 1996 along with CBS and then NBC before it was sold to IMG in 2015.
Thai businesswoman and transgender advocate Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million, making her the first woman to own the global beauty pageant in its 71-year history, her company announced Oct. 26. https://t.co/p9nlfdCRmR
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 27, 2022
“We are incredibly honored to be acquiring the Miss Universe organization and working with its visionary leadership team,” Jakrajutatip, who became a reality TV star on Thai versions of “Project Runway” and “Shark Tank,” declared. “The global reach of the organization, its relationships with global partners and brands, and its wealth of content, licensing, and merchandising opportunities make this a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio. We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation.”
“Jakrajutatip will become the first woman to own Miss Universe, the organization confirmed to Insider,” Business Insider claimed. According to the Bangkok Post, Jakrajutatip is the third richest transgender person in the world, worth roughly $210 million.
Recently, Miss Universe suspended the organizers of Miss USA after a furor erupted following the annual Miss USA pageant.
Contestants in the 2022 Miss USA pageant received an email from Miss Universe CEO Amy Emmerich informing them that Miss Brand, which runs the pageant, has been suspended from the pageant.
“After thorough deliberation, Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand immediately,” Emmerich wrote. “Miss Universe will be taking over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive third-party investigation is conducted.”
“We are appreciative of the cooperation we’ve seen from Miss USA Director Crystle Stewart as we work through this process,” Emmerich added.
Stewart, the director of Miss Brand and the winner of Miss USA in 2008 before starting to run the pageant in 2020, had come under fire after contestants alleged that the pageant favored the eventual winner, Miss Texas, R’Bonney Gabriel. After Gabriel’s victory was announced and she walked around the stage, other contestants, in an unprecedented move, walked off the stage.
“You can see them exiting the stage before she even turns around. All of them. Not one of them stays on stage to congratulate her or run and hug her,” former contestant Jasmine Jones stated in a TikTok video. “In my pageantry opinion, something was off about that. In my ten years as a contestant, I’ve never seen the girls walk off stage and not congratulate the girls that’s won.”
“I am at a loss of words since it goes to show there were many signs that the winner was already predetermined and myself, amongst all my other sisters, weren’t even given the chance to lose,” Alexandra Lakhman, Miss New Jersey wrote.
Miss New York, Heather Elley, added, “The way I entered this pageant and gave it every last bit of my heart and soul. I had limiting beliefs of the outcome and did everything to ignore ALL the signs,” Yahoo News reported.
Miss Missouri, Mikala McGhee, claimed Gabriel’s victory had been preordained because she is a Filipina-American, and the Filipina community has a large pageant fanbase.
“I think that [Miss USA] are in a state where they are trying to revamp and re-glamorize pageantry here in the United States, because we’ve been seeing a constant drop off in enrollment for pageants, and not just in the Miss USA system,” she said.
“Not to say that Gabriel couldn’t have gone out here and won this on her own, but I think that she was a Houstonian — everyone, again, from the Miss Brand … and most from Miss USA Organization, including Crystle herself, are from Houston. They’re Houston natives,” McGhee continued.