The Miss Universe Organization announced it was suspending relations with its Indonesian franchisee and canceling this year’s Malaysia competition after participants accused local organizers of sexual harassment.
The US-based organization announced in an emailed statement late Saturday that it had decided to terminate its relationship with PT Capella Swastika Karya and its national director Poppy Capella, who also holds the Miss Universe Malaysia license.
Six Miss Universe Indonesia contestants filed complaints with police accusing organisers of sexual harassment, saying they were subjected to topless “body checks”, their lawyer said on Tuesday.
“It has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards, ethics, or expectations as outlined in our franchise handbook and code of conduct,” the Miss Universe Organization said, adding that providing a safe place for women was its utmost priority.
Jakarta police did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Spokesperson Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko said on Tuesday the report would be investigated.
Capella said in a statement on Instagram she does not condone any form of sexual harassment.
“I emphasise that I, as the national director and license owner for Miss Universe Indonesia, was not involved at all and have never known, ordered, requested or allowed anyone who plays a role and participated in the process of organising Miss Universe Indonesia 2023 to commit sexual harassment through body checking as reported,” she said.
The Jakarta contest was held to select Indonesia’s entry for the annual Miss Universe competition, to be held in El Salvador late this year.
The Miss Universe Organization said it was evaluating its policies and procedures to avoid similar occurrence in the future, adding that there are no measurement or body dimensions requirement to join their pageant worldwide.