Miss Universe organisers have cut ties with the pageant’s Indonesian arm amid claims of sexual abuse.
Allegedly, the 2022 Miss Universe Indonesia (MUID) pageant subjected 30 finalists to a strip search, and allegedly photographed five contestants topless.
In a social media post, organisers said “it has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards and ethics”.
According to local media, at least eight finalists have filed complaints with Jakarta police alleging sexual abuse by local event organisers.
Lawyers representing one of the finalists alleged there was a strip search to check their bodies for ‘scars and cellulite’ at a hotel ahead of the MUID finals.
It’s alleged the searches were conducted in front of around twenty people, including men. Some contestants were then reportedly photographed partially nude against their will.
Jakarta’s Police Director Hengki Haryadi said the alleged victims felt forced to remove their clothes and “pose inappropriately for body checking that traumatised them”.
Miss Universe response
The pageant’s global organisers condemned the alleged abuse in a statement posted to X (formerly Twitter). It also responded by cancelling the upcoming Miss Universe Malaysia pageant, which shares the same organisers as MUID.
“To the women who came forward from the Indonesia pageant – we’re sorry that this was your experience with our organisation… The events at this particular pageant are diametrically opposed to everything we stand for as an organisation.”
Miss Universe Indonesia response
Local organisers in Indonesia have denied all claims of sexual abuse, describing the allegations as “full of speculation and untruth”.
Poppy Capella, the director of the pageant in Indonesia, has denied knowledge of any strip searches under her leadership.
“I am against any form of violence or sexual harassment,” a statement from Capella said.