Miss Universe controversies under Anne Jakrajutatip's ownership

SPOTLIGHT: Miss Universe controversies under Anne Jakrajutatip’s ownership

/ 11:51 AM March 04, 2024

SPOTLIGHT: Miss Universe controversies under Anne Jakrajutatip's ownership

Miss Universe owner Anne Jakrajutatip. Image: Instagram/@annejkn.official

After Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip of JKN Global Group acquired ownership of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) in 2022, she declared that the pageant will not just be a beauty competition but a platform that would champion equality and inclusivity.

However, the organization has since then been marred with controversies, with the most recent issue being the alleged leaked video about Jakrajutatip, a transgender woman, saying the pageant’s efforts to promote inclusivity are merely a “communication strategy.”


Unfortunately, controversies such as this have cast a long shadow on the pageant organization’s integrity, with pageantry fans already looking at Jakrajutatip’s leadership with suspicion, despite her assurances of fair play.


To look back, here are some of the most talked about issues involving the global tint that arose under Jakrajutatip’s leadership.   

‘Rigged’ Miss Universe 2022 results in favor of R’bonney Gabriel

MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip (right) and reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel. Image: X/@annejknofficial ANNE JAKRAJUTATIP X PHOTO

MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip (right) and reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel. Image: X/@annejknofficial

Just a few days after the Miss Universe 2022 coronation night, Jakrajutatip was accused by fans of rigging the results in favor of then-Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, as well as cutting off candidates who were considered to be frontrunners from the semi finals and final rounds.

Some pointed out that the USA delegate took additional seconds in answering the final question and was allowed to continue speaking even after the bell rang; and that the competition was held in the United States with Jakrajutatip as owner of Miss USA, and a jury that were mostly American.

Responding to the allegations, Jakrajutatip underscored that the “the rules and judges were fair and equitable,” and that she didn’t need to “jeopardize” herself by rigging the pageant. 

“Each Miss Universe contestant was measured on her own merits in the competition. Not everyone can win the competition but everyone gets an equal chance of winning,” she added.

JKN Global Group files for bankruptcy

JKN Global group tried to resolve a “liquidity problem” which apparently stemmed from its failure to repay bonds to investors worth around $12 million (P670 million) on the deadline it imposed on itself. Prior to this, it also missed a repayment schedule amounting to $17.3 (P967 million), saying “the financial liquidity management of the company is not in line with expected forecasts.”


The media group’s board of directors then agreed to submit a business rehabilitation plan to Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court, hoping it “will solve the company’s liquidity problem under legal mechanism and provide fair protection to all stakeholders.”

MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip. Image: Instagram/@annejkn.official

MUO owner Anne Jakrajutatip. Image: Instagram/@annejkn.official

“JKN Global Group has announced a plan to refinance our debt and rehabilitate our business. While our operating cash is intact and the company will continue to run operations as planned, this is a necessary step in our growth to ensure that our debt is repaid and the company remains financially healthy,” Jakrajutip explained. 

Despite this, the Thai business mogul declared that MUO is her priority and that the “universe must go on, must be great and must stay on top as the legendary Beauty Olympics in the World.”

Measly amount given to Miss Universe 2023’s “Voice for Change” beneficiary

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach took to her social media in November 2023 to express her confusion on the mechanics of the 2023 pageant’s “Voice for Change” video contest.

Sharing her own analysis, each vote in the contest cost $1 and the number of votes reached hundreds of thousands. Hence, the pageant supposedly earned hundreds of thousands in dollars, but the winners’ chosen charity would only receive $12,000—an amount the beauty queen believed is too small given the total amount earned from the contest.

“‘Di naman ako part ng [organization] and nobody asked… pero sana percent ng votes mapunta sa charity. Like kung 300K ng votes, 50% of it can go to their advocacy tapos para may incentive lalo magvote mga tao. May sure slot ang top girl sa Top 20,” Wurtzbach voiced her sentiment. “Sana pala straight to their advocacy nalang ‘yung prinomote ng girls.”

Pia Wurtzbach

Image: Instagram/@piawurtzbach

Neither Jakrajutatip nor anyone from the MUO commented on the matter raised by the Miss Universe 2015 titleholder.

Jakrajutatip’s ‘cannot move on’ video

(From left) Michelle Dee, Anne Jakrajutatip. Images: Screengrab from YouTube/GMA Network, Instagram/@annejkn.official

(From left) Michelle Dee, Anne Jakrajutatip. Images: Screengrab from YouTube/GMA Network, Instagram/@annejkn.official

In a video that went viral on social media, Jakrajutatip was seen pulling Miss Universe Philippines 2023 bet Michelle Dee beside her before addresing pageant watchers from the Philippines and Thailand who “cannot move on” from the results of the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. In the 2023 competition, Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua emerged as the titleholder after besting 83 other contenders including Dee.

At the latter part of the video, Dee respectfully walked away from the camera but Jakrajutatip went up to her again, gave her a hug and said: “Beautiful, very cool.”

Dee, who some fans believe was robbed of a chance to be in the finals after her journey ended as part of the Top 10 finalists, addressed the backlash on the video and affirmed that Jakrajutatip could have been “more respectful” in her approach on the matter. 

“Miss Universe is alive because of its supporters who are so passionate. Even though [Jakrajutatip] might not have had bad intentions, the way it was executed, delivered, it could’ve been better,” Dee told TV host Boy Abunda in an interview. 

“I frankly think there’s always a better way to be more respectful to the fans. But of course, do I believe that it was done with malicious intent? I try to see the best in everybody,” she continued. “That’s what I chose to do, to be polite and say thank you.”

Jakrajutatip’s spat with Paula Shugart

Anne Jakrajutatip boasts Miss Universe legacy amid spat with Paula Shugart

Anne Jakrajutatip (left) has yet to respond to Paula Shugart’s (right) plans of taking legal action against her. Images: Instagram/@annejkn.official, YouTube/Miss Universe

Jakrajutatip accused Paula Shugart, who served as the Miss Universe Organization’s president from 1997 to 2023, of taking money under the table to ensure certain titleholders won the global tilt.

The Thai businesswoman, in a series of posts in February 2024, also claimed that a certain woman implemented a “corporate culture” that allowed her to “do whatever she wants” for 25 long years. 

“Recent false and outrageous comments made by Miss Universe owner Anne Jakrajutatip impugning my character have compelled me to break my silence,” Shugart said, disclosing at the time that she’s eyeing possible legal action taken against Jakrajutatip. 

“…By suggesting that I am corrupt and took money ‘under the table’ to secure placements in Miss Universe competitions, Jakrajutatip not only defames me, but she also discredits the women who have won the Miss Universe crown by implying their titles were ‘bought’ and not earned by merit,” she continued.

Shugart, who earned the support of several Miss Universe titleholders, further noted: “I have no intention or need to engage in drama on social media and I will not do so. Anyone who knows me knows the truth and what I stand for. I will let my years of work with some truly incredible women speak for itself.”

‘Inclusivity’ in Miss Universe pageant as mere ‘communication strategy’

Jakrajutatip was once on the receiving end of criticisms after an alleged leaked video of her with other pageant executives, including MUO co-owner Mexican businessman Raul Rocha Cantu, made rounds on social media.

In the video, Jakrajutatip and the group were in what appeared to be a business meeting, discussing how the move to allow “trans women, women with husbands, divorced women, and candidates going beyond the age limit” to compete is a “communication strategy.”

“Now that we changed the age limit, they can compete and come back again. This is a [communication strategy] because you understand that they can compete but they cannot win,” said Jakrajutatip in the clip.

“We just put the policy out there… social inclusion as people would say, like that way of thinking. They would think that I’m a part of the organization. We will tell them, you are unclear, with respect and inclusion,” she further stated.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Anne Jakrajutatip | แอน จักรพงษ์ (@annejkn.official)

Jakrajutatip spoke up on the matter and claimed that the video was maliciously edited “to manipulate people” and “to cause public confusion, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and wrong conclusion.”

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“I hope the world would not go round by this nonsense soap opera alike,” she said, alleging that a man to whom she was formerly close was behind the leaked video.

Jakrajutatip also clarified that the pageant executives were talking about “one of the new reality show episodes [and] not the pageantry itself.”

She stressed as well that being a transwoman and a mother—two of the sectors that her “inclusivity” talk had sought to attract to join the pageant—she wouldn’t live her life against what she believes in. 

TAGS: Anne Jakrajutatip, Miss Universe, Miss Universe Organization

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