The Miss Universe Organization has been purchased for $20 million by a Thai business mogul and transgender campaigner, her firm reported on Wednesday.
The owner of JKN Global Group Public Co. Ltd., Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib, is a well-known figure in Thailand who has been in reality shows and is outspoken about being transgender. She participated in the founding of the organisation Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation, which works to advance trans rights.
JKN claimed to have purchased the Miss Universe Organization’s rights from IMG Worldwide LLC, a sports, talent, and events marketing firm that had controlled them since 2015. From 1996 until IMG bought the pageant rights, former American president Donald Trump had a portion of ownership.
JKN claimed to have founded JKN Metaverse Inc. as a subsidiary in the US to hold ownership of the Miss Universe Organization. 165 nations watch the Miss Universe contest, according to IMG.
Chakrapong called the acquisition “a great, strategic addition to our portfolio” in a statement. The Miss Universe moniker will be used to promote JKN’s consumer products, which are involved in content distribution, beverages, food supplements, beauty, and consumer goods.
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According to a story of Chakrapong published in the Bangkok Post newspaper earlier this year, she attended an all-male school where she experienced harassment for identifying as a woman. She spent 40 million baht ($1 million) on sex reassignment surgery and other operations after becoming financially successful, according to the newspaper.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch stated in a report last year that while Thailand has a positive international reputation when it comes to the rights and lifestyles of LGBTQ communities, the lack of a process for transgender people to change their legal gender, along with insufficient legal protections and social stigma, limit transgender people’s access to services and expose them to daily indignities.