Former Miss Universe president threatens to sue successor for defamation

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By Juan Francisco García

The former president of the Miss Universe organization, the American Paula Shugart, threatened to denounce for defamation the Thai owner of the brand, Jakapong, “Anne? Jakrajutatip,” for implying that she accepted bribes during the beauty contest.

Shugart pointed out, in a post on the social network Instagram, that the false and outrageous comments allegedly made by the Thai woman have led him to break his silence and consider taking legal action in Thailand against Jakrajutatip.

“I cannot stand those dangerous and reckless claims, which degrade the Miss Universe brand and its headlines,” said Shugart, who left the post he held for more than 20 years last November.

According to the former president, Jakrajutatip, the transsexual entrepreneur who took place in 2022 under the Miss Universe brand, hinted in messages published in Thai that Shugart was an “corrupt,” and had received bribes to secure posts in the beauty contest.

Jakrajutatip not only defames me, but also discredits the women who have won the crown of Miss Universe by insinuating their titles were bought and not won on merit, the American emphasizes.

Shugart, who publishes the alleged comments of the Thai owner on the aforementioned social network, does not indicate the date or origin of these messages from Jakrajutatip.

The Thai company JKN Global Group, run by the popular trans businesswoman and activist, acquired Miss Universe in October 2022 for $20 million (about 18.6 million euros) from IMG Worldwide LLC, based in New York.

Since then, JKN Global Group has suffered liquidity problems and last November asked Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court to enter into a process of restructuring its operations and debt.

Although the Thai businesswoman said these financial problems would not affect the Miss Universe organization.

Miss Universe has been held annually since 1952, broadcasting in more than 160 countries, and the next edition will take place in Mexico on an unschedited date.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa NI