Lupita Jones, Miss Universe 1991 and director of the Mexicana Universal pageant, was let go from the Miss Universe franchise in Mexico. Jones announced the news in a video that she posted on her Instagram account. She explained that although she assumes that the international contest would find someone to take over for her, the organization has not officially told her.
"In the last couple of months there has been some talk, I have been receiving many messages asking me to clear up what is going on. I want to tell you that, first of all, Miss Universe has not confirmed anything with me, although it seems like what is being said is true,” said Jones.
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The organization chose Cynthia de la Vega to be the new director of Miss Universe Mexico. The announcement was made during a press appearance in which Jones' work was highlighted, although she was not present. Businessman Raúl Rocha Cantú is the owner of the franchise.
Jones sparked controversy for her comments against the new rules of the contest. Specifically, she said she disagreed with the international contest allowing biological men to compete (this year there were two cases: One in Portugal and another in the Netherlands). For the last year, Jones has made her position clear on the issue. Two months ago at a press conference, she insisted that her pageant would not accept trans people.
"I have nothing against transgender people, but I think women's spaces should be kept for women," Jones said.
LUPITA JONES NO ACEPTA A CHICAS TRANS EN MISS MÉXICO 🗣
👉En un conferencia de prensa, la directora de #MexicanaUniversal, #LupitaJones, indicó que por el momento no se aceptarán a mujeres trans en #MissMéxico, declaró que los lugares para mujeres se deben respetar. pic.twitter.com/X9BUQDvUtw
— 𝐄𝐋 𝐈𝐍𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐓𝐄 🇲🇽 (@ElInformanteMX) October 20, 2023
"Don't turn this into a cheap circus," says Lupita Jones
Just this Sunday, when speaking about the end of her time with Miss Universe, the former beauty queen expressed her concern with the new pageant. She is unhappy with the way the international organization is being run. She pointed out that Paula Shugart, who was president of the international event, resigned after 20 years of being in charge of the company's management.
"Paula Shugarth's departure left us all in shock. But I knew it wouldn't take long for her to leave because of all the things that were happening which she did not agree with. In her message she made it very clear what it means to be a leader, what it means to lead a project for the good of the team and not for personal interests. The truth is that I respect her," Jones said.
“There will be time to talk and share many things that I think. Universal Mexicana continues to move forward because it does not depend on a franchise. I am still in contact with other pageants. We share the same vision of what a beauty pageant should be like for women. We are moving forward,” she added.
Finally, she indicated that she will remain in contact with other international pageants and that the values of the Mexican organization haven't changed. She said she does not want it to turn into "a cheap circus":
Mexicana Universal firmly values respect, fair competition, and not turning this into a circus. We don't want to turn this into an event that seeks cheap media attention by forcing situations that distract attention from what is truly important about the competition, which is having a fair competition in which the same rules apply to everyone. The way I know these rules apply equally to everyone is when the competitors share the same qualities and characteristics to be qualified. Mexicana Universal still has that vision.
A progressive and bankrupt Miss Universe
Jones' statements coincide with news published last week that the current owner of Miss Universe, JKN Global Group, filed for bankruptcy a year after purchasing the beauty pageant for $20 million. The economic situation comes after Anne Jakrajutatip, a transgender businessman, promoted a series of changes within the contest to make it more "progressive."
"Welcome to the platform of women empowerment. Miss Universe will now be managed by women and for all women, to celebrate the power of feminism, diversity, social inclusion, gender equality and creativity that are causes for good", said Jakrajutatip at Miss Universe 2022, when he took over the contest and made it clear that his intention is to promote a progressive company.