One of the most watched and supported pageants in the world Miss Universe is losing sponsorships over a new business model.
The Miss Universe Organization (MUO), under the new leadership of Thai millionaire Anne Jakrajutatip, introduced a new rule that required organisations and their national directors wishing to host Miss Universe competitions and send representatives to submit an annual bid.
“In the application, you will be asked for your highest bid for the opportunity to hold the Miss Universe licence. Please be advised that proposed licence fees deemed not aligned with the market value in your region will be rejected," reads a statement from the Miss Universe Organization.
Organisations who have supported the pageant did not allow the new rule. As a result, they cut ties with the organisation.
Malz Promotions, which has been sending a Ghanaian representative to Miss Universe, was the first to end its relationship with the organisation.
Menaye Donkor Muntari, chief executive of Malz Promotions, posted a letter on Instagram, stating their reasons for ending the relationship with the Miss Universe Organization.
“The new and now sudden implementation of the Miss Universe Organization business model under the JKN Global Group’s leadership are not aligned with Malz Promotions’ brand objectives and would hence like to discontinue the relationship with Miss Universe.”
Nevin Rupear, the national director for Miss Universe Mauritius and Miss Universe Seychelles, also terminated their relationship(s) with the Miss Universe Organization.
“Bidding is not for me. I am worth so much more than someone else bidding more to overtake all the hard work my team and I have put in since 2016. This cannot be quantified. As you may know, I watched the very first Miss Universe at the age of 6, and I used my own pocket money since I was 18 to help the Mauritian delegates because I wanted them to feel special at Miss Universe.
“Mauritius has never been placed at Miss Universe, but I am sending you my last titleholder crowned earlier, she is someone who is out of this world, and I know she will bring Mauritian hospitality, kindness and smile to your organisation.”
Romeo Escobar, national director for Miss Universe Belize, also withdrew from the Miss Universe competition.
“Recently, the Miss Universe Organization was purchased by JKN Global Group. With that comes many changes and new implementations of how their business model works, this includes bidding for our franchise as directors. This does not align with the way I conduct business, and I believe it’s not a sustainable way to keep a partnership long term with its directors. Because of this, I have decided to part ways with Miss Universe and give up the franchise.”
Jakrajutatip, who bought the Miss Universe rights last year, took to Instagram to respond to the national directors who cut ties with the organisation.
She said: “The request of submission was meant to give voice and agency to the current directors. A way that they can speak truth to what they believe their business is worth. Since when MUO said that the submission is all about the highest amount of money? It’s making no sense to me, and it’s not my biz integrity to do so! I respect everyone who always supports The Universe and would love to urge every one of you to listen before having the judgement.”
Jakrajutatip bought the Miss Universe rights under JKN Global Group for about $20-million (R342m).