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6 Miss Indonesia Universe contestants lodge sexual harassment complaint against organisers, allege they were subjected to topless “body checks”

The contestants said that they were photographed topless in presence of over 20 people including men

Six contestants of the Miss Universe Indonesia pageant have filed complaints with the police accusing organisers of sexual harassment. They have charged that they were subjected to topless body checks during the competition. The police confirmed that a report was filed and the matter is under investigation.

The event took place in the country’s capital of Jakarta from 29 July to 3 August. The participants complained that the organisers required five of them to remove everything but their underwear in order to undergo physical assessments in a room with more than 20 people, including men. The latter told them that they had to examine any scars, cellulite or tattoos on the former’s bodies.

They were then photographed without tops, according to attorney, Mellisa Anggraeni, who also added that such procedures weren’t necessary. She mentioned that six candidates had registered complaints. Three of them were represented by her and she anticipated that many more would come forward.

“My rights, in my opinion, have been infringed. My mental state has been impacted. I’ve had difficulties sleeping,” one of the victims voiced in a media interview with fellow grousers earlier this week. The local television disguised their faces during the broadcasts to safeguard their identities.

“I felt like I was being peeked on, I was very confused and uncomfortable,” She stated that was instructed to pose in an indecent way, which involved opening her legs to the news channel Kompas TV.

Jakarta police spokesperson Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko informed that a report from contestants had been received on 7 August and it would be probed. The Miss Universe Indonesia Organisation will conduct an inquiry into the allegations based on a statement from its well-known owner Poppy Capella.

“In response to media coverage about the incidents at the Miss Universe Indonesia pageant, we at Miss Universe Indonesia are closely monitoring the situation. We are actively investigating the allegations that have been reported in the mass media. We will conduct a thorough investigation and review the allegations made against us.” she proclaimed.

Such charges are taken “very seriously” by the international Miss Universe Organisation, which also asserted that it was conducting investigations into the situation. “Miss Universe takes allegations of sexual abuse and impropriety extremely seriously. Providing a safe place for women is the Miss Universe Organization’s utmost priority, and we are looking into this matter,” they announced.

Although body checks are common in the nation, competitors are not generally required to remove their clothing, per Maria Harfanti, a former Miss Indonesia. Their body mass index (BMI) is frequently requested by the organisers in order to assess their body proportions.

One of the complainants unveiled during the press conference on 7 August that while some men used to be present, the body inspections were conducted in a closed room. She continued that because the door was partially open, everyone outside was able to see inside.

Religious organisations in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, have previously protested beauty contests. While the country has traditionally permitted beauty pageants, the organisers take care to avoid upsetting the more traditional elements of the community. Notably, The Miss World pageant had to cancel its bikini round when it was staged in 2013.

Jakapong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, a transgender rights activist and celebrity media tycoon from Thailand, purchased the Miss Universe Organisation last year for $20 million. The recent occasion aimed to choose Indonesia’s representative for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador. The Miss Universe Organisation, co-owned by former United States President and businessman Donald Trump from 1996 to 2002, has been organising the pageant since 1952.

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