Allegations of Sexual Harassment Shock Miss Universe 2023 Indonesia Pageant

Shocking Revelations During Miss Universe Indonesia Contest

Seven contestants competing for the prestigious Miss Universe Indonesia 2023 crown have recently come forward to report instances of sexual harassment by the local organizers. The contestants’ lawyer, Melissa Anggraini, confirmed that formal complaints have been filed with the police, shedding light on a disturbing episode that has tarnished the beauty pageant’s reputation.

During the Miss Universe Indonesia contest held from July 29th to August 3rd in the capital city of Jakarta, contestants were subjected to a distressing “body check” exercise, forcing them to strip down to their underwear in front of local organizers. Attorney Melissa Anggraini revealed that scars or cellulite were evaluated in a ballroom at the Sari Pacific Hotel, the venue for the contest. Shockingly, at least five contestants allege that they were even photographed topless during this invasive process.

Anggraini emphasized, “We have obtained substantial evidence, including videos, demonstrating that the organizers carried out these intrusive ‘body checks.'”

One of the contestants, Priskila Ribka Jelita, representing West Java province, described her traumatic experience during the “body check” in an interview conducted by The Associated Press. Jelita stated, “When they asked me to open my bra…I was shocked! Despite feeling uncomfortable, I couldn’t speak up or refuse their demands. Moreover, when I tried to cover my breasts out of embarrassment, I was scolded and yelled at.”

Jelita further added, “I felt completely bewildered, nervous, and humiliated when they instructed me to lift my left leg onto a chair for an intimate inspection.”

Upon learning about these disturbing allegations, the Miss Universe Organization promptly severed its ties with PT Capella Swastika Karya, the Indonesian franchisee responsible for the event. In a statement issued via social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the New York-based organization clarified that the franchisee failed to uphold their brand standards and ethical values.

Consequently, the Miss Universe Organization announced the cancellation of this year’s Miss Universe Malaysia pageant, as PT Capella Swastika Karya held the license for both pageants. They also assured that Fabienne Nicole Groeneveld, the crowned Miss Indonesia 2023, will still compete in the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador later this year.

However, it is important to note that Groeneveld was not among the contestants who filed a complaint.

Maria Napitupulu, Jelita’s mother, learned about her daughter’s distressing experience from Jelita’s Instagram post. Tearfully, Napitupulu expressed, “It’s truly saddening, and it deeply hurts me.”

In March, the Indonesian beauty company PT Capella Swastika Karya took over the Miss Universe Indonesia license from Yayasan Putri Indonesia (YPI), a foundation that had previously held the license for three decades. The franchisee’s manager, Capella, a former singer, denied any involvement in the “body checking” of contestants in a statement posted on the franchisee’s Instagram account.

The official statement released by the Miss Universe Organization clarified that height, weight, or body measurements are not required for contestants to participate in the pageant. Additionally, they expressed gratitude towards the Indonesian contestants who bravely shared their experiences and apologized for their unpleasant encounter with the organization.

The controversy surrounding the pageant has triggered widespread attention in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. As a country known for its tolerance and respect for freedom of expression, the Miss Universe 2023 Indonesia scandal has stirred both shock and disappointment.

It is crucial to emphasize that actions such as these do not represent the majority of Indonesians, as the nation is predominantly comprised of moderate Muslims. Nevertheless, the incident sheds light on the small, vocal fringe within society that has recently become more assertive.

Back in 2013, the Miss World competition faced protests from conservative Muslim groups in Indonesia, resulting in the event being relocated from Jakarta to Bali. In an effort to respect customs, all contestants were asked to wear traditional sarongs instead of bikinis, a symbol historically associated with the competition.

In light of these distressing revelations, the Miss Universe Organization remains committed to reevaluating current franchise agreements and implementing policies to prevent any future instances of misconduct.

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