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Miss Universe cuts ties with Indonesian organizer as sexual harassment allegations swirl

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Miss Universe Group has reduce its ties with its Indonesian franchisee and can cancel an upcoming pageant in Malaysia after contestants complained to police, accusing native organizers of sexual harassment.

The New York-based group stated in a press release late Saturday it had determined to sever ties with PT Capella Swastika Karya, and its Nationwide Director, Poppy Capella.

Six contestants of a Miss Universe Indonesia pageant lately filed complaints with police, accusing native organizers of asking them to strip to their underwear for “physique checks” for scars or cellulite, in a room with about two dozen folks current, together with males. 5 of the contestants stated they have been then photographed topless.

“In mild of what we’ve got realized happened at Miss Universe Indonesia, it has turn out to be clear that this franchise has not lived as much as our model requirements and ethics,” the Miss Universe Group stated on the social media website X, previously generally known as Twitter.

The group additionally stated it could be cancelling this 12 months’s Miss Universe Malaysia because the Indonesian franchisee additionally holds the license for the pageant. It stated it could make preparations for the Indonesia 2023 title holder to compete in Miss Universe pageant to be held in El Salvador late this 12 months.

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The Miss Universe Indonesia pageant was held from July 29 to Aug. 3 to decide on Indonesia’s consultant to the 2023 Miss Universe contest, and was gained by Fabienne Nicole Groeneveld.

PT Capella Swastika Karya is an Indonesian magnificence firm which took over the license for Miss Universe Indonesia in March from Yayasan Putri Indonesia or YPI, an Indonesian basis that held the license for 30 years.

The corporate founder, Poppy Capella, denied her involvement within the bodily examination in the course of the contest and stated that she is towards any form of “violence and sexual harassment.”

“I, because the Nationwide Director and because the proprietor of the Miss Universe Indonesia license, was not concerned in any respect and have by no means recognized, ordered, requested or allowed anybody who performed a task and took part within the Miss Universe Indonesia 2023 course of to commit violence or sexual harassment via physique checking,” she posted on social media late Saturday.

Hengki Haryadi, the Jakarta police director for common crimes, stated Sunday that in a Miss Universe Indonesia pageant held within the capital, Jakarta, from July 29 to Aug. 3, the victims have been pressured to take away their garments and have been photographed bare for bodily examination in a lodge ballroom.

“These victims really feel pressured to take off their garments and pose inappropriately for physique checking that traumatized them,” Haryadi stated.

He added that police are nonetheless inspecting surveillance cameras from the scene. Investigators will interview the victims and supply psychological help, he stated.

In its assertion Saturday, the Miss Universe Group stated there aren’t any measurements resembling top, weight, or physique dimensions required to affix a Miss Universe pageant worldwide, and thanked the Indonesian contestants “who’ve bravery in talking out.”

“To the ladies who got here ahead from the Indonesian pageant, we’re sorry that this was your expertise with our group,” it stated, including that also they are evaluating their present franchise settlement and insurance policies to forestall this sort of conduct from occurring sooner or later worldwide.

Controversy over the pageant has been mounting in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, which has a fame as a tolerant, pluralist society that respects freedom of expression. Most Muslims in Indonesia, a secular nation of 277 million folks, are reasonable, however a small hard-line fringe has turn out to be extra vocal lately.

In 2013, a number of conservative Muslim teams staged an enormous protest towards Miss World competitors in Indonesia, prompted the competition moved from Jakarta to the resort island of Bali, and all the greater than 130 contestants required to put on Bali’s conventional lengthy sarongs as a substitute of the attractive bikinis which might be historic a part of the competitors.

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