Miss Universe Indonesia contestants accuse each other of sexual harassment
According to one of the contestants’ lawyers, the contestants were requested to remove their tops for “body checks” and photographs two days before the finals on August 3.
Beauty pageants are permitted in Indonesia, but organizers take care not to insult the country’s conservative society.
When the Miss World pageant was held in the predominantly Muslim country in 2013, the bikini round was canceled.
The complaints would be used as the basis for “further investigation,” according to police in Jakarta.
Under Indonesian law, sexual abuse is punished by up to 15 years in prison.
The accusation was confirmed by Mellisa Anggraeni, who represents three candidates, to BBC News Indonesia. She predicted that many more complainants will come forward.
According to Reuters, six candidates filed complaints with police.
Ms Anggraeni told AFP that organizers had told the applicants that the physical inspections were to “examine any scars, cellulite, or tattoos on their bodies.”
The Miss Universe Indonesia Organization, according to its owner, Indonesian star Poppy Capella, will investigate the accusations.
The global Miss Universe Organization has stated that it is investigating the incident and takes complaints of sexual impropriety “very seriously.”
Some of the complainants spoke at a press conference late Monday, but their faces were obscured in broadcasts to protect their identities.
“As a woman, I believe my rights as a woman have been violated, and it has had a psychological impact on me.” “I’ve had trouble sleeping because I’ve been overthinking,” one of the women admitted.
There were some guys there when the body inspections were being performed in a locked room, according to the woman.
She also stated that the door was not completely shut, allowing persons outside to see what was going on.
According to Maria Harfanti, a former Miss Indonesia who placed third in Miss World 2015, body checks are common in the nation, but contenders are rarely requested to strip naked.
Ms Harfanti stated that organizers frequently request the competitors’ BMI or body mass index in order to assess their body proportions.
Miss Universe is famous in South-east Asia, particularly in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, where victors go on to become celebrities and social media influencers.
It is currently owned by Anne Jakrajutatip, a Thai transgender woman and media tycoon who has attempted to modernize the brand by allowing married women, transgender women, and single mothers to compete.