Ex-Miss Universe president to sue Thai transgender business mogul

By Minh Long   February 21, 2024 | 07:27 pm PT
Former Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president Paula Shugart is planning to sue the pageant’s Thai owner Anne Jakrajutatip, the world’s third wealthiest transgender person, for making false comments about her.

On her Instagram account, Shugart said she remained silent since stepping down in November 2023, but she is now breaking her silence because of Jakrajutatip’s accusations, Philippines newspaper Philstar reported.

Former Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart. Photo from her Instagram

Former Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart. Photo from her Instagram

Shugart said Jakrajutatip claimed that the former MUO president was corrupt and received bribes to determine past Miss Universe winners, which discredits past winners of the prestigious pageant. Shugart included in her post screenshots of Jakrajutatip’s supposed allegations written in Thai.

"By suggesting that I am corrupt and took money ‘under the table’ to secure placements in Miss Universe competitions, Jakrajutatip not only defames me, but she also discredits the women who have won the Miss Universe crown by implying their titles were ‘bought’ and not earned by merit," Shugart stated.

According to Shugart, such dangerous and reckless assertions degrade the Miss Universe brand and its titleholders. She is thus planning to take action against Shugart in Thai courts.

"I am reserving all rights to claim for damages," she said.

According to Missosology, Shugart worked with Miss Universe for 23 years before announcing her resignation.

The resignation stirred discussions, with some people saying she could not find common ground with Jakrajutatip in creating innovations for the beauty contest.

In addition to Shugart, MUO’s talent director Esther Swan also left the organization after two decades with Miss Universe.

Currently, MUO is co-run by Jakrajutatip and Mexican businessman Raúl Rocha Cantú.

A media entrepreneur and digital content distributor in Thailand, Jakrajutatip is the current owner of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageant organizations.

Jakrajutatip became the first transgender woman to fully own these organizations in their history.

According to Forbes, she is the third richest transgender person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$210 million in 2020.

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