Days before two men join the competition to be crowned Miss Universe, the company that operates the pageant has declared bankruptcy.

JKN Global Group says it has a “liquidity problem” a year after buying the pageant for $20 million and trying to make radical changes, according to the BBC.

The company missed a $12 million debt payment due Sept. 1. Its stock has fallen 80 percent in the past year.

Company CEO Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip is a Thai transgender who says he is a woman and vowed from the first to make changes.

“We will adopt a new concept, ‘One Universe,’ in which opportunities to participate in the competition will be given also to trans women and married women, and fairness in the contest judging will be ensured. This will be the world’s first beauty contest with real gender equality and inclusion,” Jakrajutatip told the Bangkok Post last November, according to the U.K. Telegraph.

At one time, the pageant was an enterprise of former President Donald Trump, who operated it from 1996 to 2015.

When the pageant is held in El Salvador on Nov. 18, two men will be competing — Marina Machete, competing as Miss Portugal, and Rikkie Valerie Kolle, competing as Miss Netherlands.

JKN Global Group said the pageant will go ahead despite the bankruptcy.

“We are confident that the new plan will support all of the company’s business operations, including Miss Universe,” the company said on its website.

“We confirm that Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador on 18 November 2023, where a top-notch experience provided to our fans will remain our top priority,” the company said.

“Trans women are women, full stop,” the Miss Universe Organization said after Machete won his crown, according to CNN.

“We are here to celebrate women, full stop. This has been true for more than a decade, and we’re proud to have made this change very early on, compared to other programs,” the organization said.

The pageant had its first transgender contestant in 2018 but has never had two transgender competitors before. A transgender contestant has not yet been crowned as Miss Universe.



This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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