Paula Shugart considers legal action vs Thai owner Anne Jakrajutatip


Ex-Miss Universe president Paula Shugart is considering legal action against the pageant’s Thai owner Anne Jakrajutatip. 

 On 19 February, Shugart took to social media to address the alleged accusations thrown at her by Jakrajutatip. 

 “Since announcing my resignation in November of 2023, I have sought to stay out of the spotlight, electing not to comment on any of the changes within the Miss Universe Organization, seeking only to quietly help the brand and its stakeholders, when requested, with my historical knowledge and guidance,” Shugart wrote. 

However, she felt compelled to speak up upon hearing Jakrajutatip’s claims. 

“Normally, I would choose to ignore such assertions but, 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 said.

She continued by saying that she could not abide by such “dangerous and reckless assertions, which degrade the Miss Universe brand and its titleholders.”

Shugart is seeking legal options in Thailand and what other actions to take against the Thai mogul. 
“However, given that my complaint will be just one of many legal actions currently facing the owner of JKN, it is imperative for the Miss Universe brand and its legacy that I immediately speak the truth and condemn these words before taking any action in Thai courts and I am reserving all rights to claim for damages,” she said. 

Shugart clears that she has no intention to engage in drama on social media. 

“Anyone who knows me knows the truth and what I stand for. I will let my years of work with some truly incredible women speak for itself,” she ended. 

Filipino titleholders Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, and Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee appeared to have liked Shugart’s post. 

Jakrajutatip has yet to comment. 

MU queens rally behind Shugart

 Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere, who was crowned in the Philippines succeeding Pia Wurtzbach, supports Shugart by praising her integrity. 

 “If people knew you, they would know how loving and caring you are. They would know your integrity, your intelligence but most importantly your honor. I had the chance to learn so much from you, and you dedicated so much time, outside of your ‘work hour’ to make me feel comfortable, confident, and happy. You didn’t work for Miss Universe, you lived for Miss Universe,” Mittenaere wrote. 

Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, meanwhile, relishes winning under Shugart’s administration. 

“You built a golden era that is already in the history of the contests all around the world, and you shine like no one else for that, those of us who know you and your work, can only say the facts, evidence, and the truth, and your work has always been clean; I know your integrity, values, effort of so many years of building a brand that you guided with elegance, respect, fair, always attached to legal transparency and order. LOVE YOU FOREVER!” Navarrete said. 

Miss Universe 2015 second runner-up Olivia Jordan feels disappointed that anyone would try to discredit the legacy of integrity that Shugart has protected over the years. 

“I will always admire your strength and be inspired by the way you use your voice. Grateful that you are speaking out to protect your reputation, but also to protect all the winners during your tenure that fought so hard to earn their title,” she said. 

Miss Universe 1991 Lupita Jones praises Shugart’s work ethic. She said, “You are a professional and a LADY, the truth always shines and your light bothers the darkness.” 

Jakrajutatip’s stewardship has faced serious issues since assuming the post as the pageant’s president. It is now required for national subsidiaries to bid for the right to select their countries’ candidates for Miss Universe. This backfired, with several national organizations cutting ties with parent organizations. It is noted that Miss Universe 1991 Lupita Jones was ousted as Mexico’s national director after taking a swipe at Jakrajutatip. 

On 8 November 2023, just 10 days before the 72nd edition of Miss Universe, JKN Global filed for bankruptcy following an 80 percent drop in its stock value the past year. Last month, JKN announced that it has sold 50 percent of its ownership to Mexico-based Legacy Holding Group for $16 million.