Transgender Thai mogul Jakrajutatip purchases scandal-ridden Miss Universe Organization for $20M

Transgender Thai mogul Jakrajutatip purchases scandal-ridden Miss Universe Organization for $20M
Jakkaphong 'Anne' Jakrajutatip (left) is the first woman who has owned the Miss Universe Organization that hosts the world-famous pageant (right) every year (Credit: Amir Levy/Getty Images/ annejkn.official/Insatgram)

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Business mogul and famous transgender celebrity in Thailand, Jakkaphong 'Anne' Jakrajutatip has bought the 'Miss Universe' organization for $20 million. It is reported that IMG sold the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), which oversees the annual pageant amid claims that the suspended organizers of the Miss USA rigged the competition and crowned a winner unfairly.

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Rumors have also spread about sexual harassment claims that have put the organization in the spotlight. Jakkaphong 'Anne' Jakrajutatip is a well-known businesswoman and CEO and also the biggest shareholder of the media group, JKN Global Group Pcl (JKN). Jakrajutatip is a celebrity in Thailand, starring in local versions of reality shows Project Runway and Shark Tank. She is the first woman to own the organization in its 71-year-history. 

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"We are incredibly honored to be acquiring The Miss Universe Organization and working with its visionary leadership team," Jakrajutatip said in a statement to CBS. "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 has always been outspoken about her experience as a transgender and has set up Life Inspired For Thailand Foundation to advocate for the rights to dignity and opportunities for transgender people.

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Jakrajutatip added that the purchase of the organization was a "strong, strategic addition to our portfolio." As of now, JKN is known in the market as a very large media house that is involved in content distribution, beverages, food supplements, beauty, and consumer products. Jakrajutatip now plans to promote its consumer products under the 'Miss Universe' brand name. Jakrajutatip studied at an all-male school where she was harassed for identifying as female. After she gained financial success she spent 40 million baht ($1 million) on sex reassignment surgery and other procedures, Bangkok Post reported.

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The beauty contest which was formerly owned by Donald Trump between 1996 and 2002, broadcasts in 165 countries. However, this year, in 2022, the organization was brought to its knees after the organizers were slammed with claims of a cheating scandal and sexual harassment rumors. Just a few days ago, the Miss Universe Organization suspended the organizers of Miss USA after a dramatic controversy emerged. On October 3, the controversial crowning tradition was drowned out by the allegations from fellow contestants accusing Miss USA of favoring the Texan beauty queen and giving 28-year-old winner R'Bonney Gabriel preferential treatment and "preselecting" her to win because she's Filipina — making her the first Filipina American to be crowned.

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However, Gabriel has denied all the allegations against her, saying there was "no unfair advantage" and she "would never enter any pageant or any competition that I would know I would win." Miss Missouri, Mikala McGhee, 28, of St Louis, said that Miss Brand Corporation, which runs the annual pageant, has allegedly stood down following the allegations that Gabriel was the "predetermined winner."

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Furthermore, it is unclear if Miss USA Director Crystle Stewart, who is the director of Miss Brand, was suspended too. Stewart's husband is accused of sexual misconduct by many young models from the Class of 2021. He is also accused of sending a video of his penis to a former contestant in 2018. An active internal probe into Miss Universe is being led by the law firm Holland & Knight.

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