A 2022 Miss Universe judge is revealing why the organizer behind the event has filed for bankruptcy just days before the next main event.
"I think the outrage about a trans woman coming to Miss Universe and preaching, 'Bring the power back to women,' couldn't be more of an oxymoron," television host and reporter Emily Austin said Thursday on "Varney & Co."
"I think her company in Thailand has its own financial issues," she continued, "but socially and morally it's just wrong. And people are starting to catch on that."
Thai business tycoon and transgender activist Anne Jakrajutatip of the JKN Global Group bought the Miss Universe organization for $20 million in 2022. Jakrajutatip, who has international fame as a transgender celebrity, described the purchase at the time as "a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio."
But one year later, the franchise itself appears unstable.
A public document sent to the Stock Exchange of Thailand from JKN Global Group declared "JKN Global Group Public Company Limited (the ‘Company’) has filed a petition for business rehabilitation with the Central Bankruptcy Court under the Bankruptcy Act B.E. 2483 (1940) (as amended) (the ‘Bankruptcy Act’) on November 8, 2023, the Central Bankruptcy Court has subsequently issued an order to accept the petition for business rehabilitation of the Company on November 9, 2023."
The Miss Universe Organization published a subsequent announcement declaring that due to "the current financial situation… we confirm that Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador on 18 November 2023, where a top notch experience provided to our fans will remain our top priorities." [sic]
For the first time, this year’s Miss Universe pageant is slated to feature at least two transgender contestants — Miss Portugal, a flight attendant named Marina Machete, and Rikkie Kollé, the first transgender Miss Netherlands. Spain’s Ángela Ponce was the pageant’s first trans contestant in 2018, but did not advance to the finals.
Austin argued Thursday her belief that transgender women should not be permitted to compete in the high-caliber pageant.
"If you want to empower women, the way to do it is not demeaning women and belittling women by allowing men, or biological men who became a woman, to come into an industry like sports, like beauty pageants, come all dolled-up plastic — [they're] beautiful men, by the way — and start dominating women's industries. That's the opposite of women's empowerment," Austin explained.
The 2022 judge added that many decisions are based around a contestant’s interview, and expressed how a transgender woman’s life experiences may not be comparable to a biological woman’s.
"The interview comes from your life story and how as a woman, you've evolved and you want to change the world. So if you grew up a man and you decided to become a woman, I don't think you have a true woman's, feminine story. You don't know what period cramps feel like, I'm sorry. You don't know what it's like to walk down a stage during that time of the month and really say: this is femininity," Austin said.
"You are a man who identifies as a woman, and that's fine," she added. "But don't start coming into women's industries — have a line, have a boundary. That's the problem."