Culture

Miss Universe Pageant Accused Of Rigging Miss USA's Win After People Discover Trans Owner Also Owns Miss USA

By Gina Florio
·  5 min read
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On Saturday night, R'Bonney Gabriel, formerly known as Miss USA took home the crown of Miss Universe 2023. However, her win has been stained with allegations of cheating due to the fact that the trans owner of Miss Universe also owns the Miss USA organization.

There were 84 beautiful women from all over the world who came to New Orleans on Saturday night to compete for the coveted crown of Miss Universe. The final three contestants were Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel, Miss Dominican Republic Andreina Martinez, and Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel. In the end, R'Bonney won the title and crown, and she became the first Filipino-American to be named Miss Universe. In her personality interview, she spoke about the work she does with her fashion brand and helping teach women how to sew. However, as beautiful and charming as R'Bonney is, there are many accusations of her win being rigged.

Miss Universe Pageant Accused of Rigging Miss USA's Win, as Trans Owner Also Runs Miss USA Pageant

Insider reported on a matter that many aren't familiar with. Earlier this month, when Miss Texas R'Bonney Gabriel was crowed Miss USA in Reno, Nevada, the fellow contestants didn't run in to congratulate her. Rather, most of them simply walked off stage. After speaking with some of the contestants, Insider reported that many of the women believed the competition to be rigged from the start, and that no matter who walked on that stage, it would be R'Bonney who was crowned the winner.

"A lot of the girls felt like it was the organization's plan from the beginning for R'Bonney to win, no matter who else was competing," Miss Missouri Mikala McGhee, told Insider. Mikala wasn't trying to bash R'Bonney; she was simply attempting to "send a statement" that they "all had an idea of what was really going on behind the scenes." She told Insider they "felt disrespected and paraded around for a show." Mikala wasn't the only one who felt like this. At least 12 other women reported feeling the same.

Angel Reyes, Miss Illinois, told Insider that R'Bonney "had personal relationships with judges who served on the judges' panel during pageant week — an extreme conflict of interest." Additionally, Heather Lee O'Keefe, Miss Montana, told Good Morning America that the official coaching school of Miss USA "sponsored all of the contestants but gave an extremely more generous amount to Miss Texas." 

A med spa company called Mia Beauté awarded R'Bonney $10,000 when she was crowned Miss Texas. The founder of that company, Dr. Phi Nguyen, was a judge for the Miss USA 2022 state costume contest, and was photographed with R'Bonney on Facebook long before the competition was held, even back in May 2021. Mia Beauté was also a national sponsor for Miss USA. The other contestants also expressed concern about the fact that Crystle Stewart, one of the Miss USA organizers, was pictured backstage doing R'Bonney's hair during the pageant.

This was all reported back in October 2022, and there are even more allegations of cheating swirling amongst the beauty pageant community. Anne Jakrajutatip, a biological man who calls himself a trans woman, is the CEO and biggest shareholder of JKN Global Group Pcl (JKN), and he bought the rights to Miss Universe a few months ago, making him the owner of the global pageant. However, he also bought the rights to Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. Prior to this, the pageant system was owned by former President Donald Trump.

On Saturday night at the pageant, Jakrajutatip made an impassioned speech about Miss Universe being run by women, for all women—despite the fact that he's a man parading around as a woman. He spoke about being bullied as a child for being a trans woman and insisted that the entire pageant would be guided by women moving forward.

Considering the fact that Miss USA and Miss Universe are owned by the same person, coupled with the history of cheating allegations within the Miss USA pageant, the rigging allegations keep circulating. But Amy Emmerich, the CEO of Miss Universe, insists that the results of the competition were determined by a third party that is verified to be unbiased.

"The allegations regarding the rigging of Miss Universe are false," she told TMZ. "People saying that it's 'suspect' that JKN Global Group owns both Miss Universe and Miss USA aren't familiar with the history of the organizations." Nevertheless, Emmerich confirmed that a third-party law firm was hired to look into these allegations and ensure that the pageant was conducted fairly—apparently, the firm found that the allegations were unfounded.

However, few people are willing to forget that Jakrajutatip purchased both Miss USA and Miss Universe just days after the original controversy was uncovered. Some people on social media highlighted the fact that R'Bonney's reaction was nonchalant, as if she already knew that she was going to win.

We probably will never know for sure, but it's safe to say that R'Bonney Gabriel's win will always be associated with these allegations of cheating, leaving many people wondering if she was in fact selected before the pageant even began.