Washington, August 14 (ANI): The Miss Universe organization has come under fire over a topless photo shoot involving the contestants.
Photographer Fadil Berisha did the official photo shoot in Las Vegas, where several of the contestants posed topless and in body paint.
"It's alarming that this has been turned into a playboy-esque masquerade," Fox News quoted Angie Meyer, who has worked closely with the Miss USA contestants and the organization in past years, as saying.
"When you bring nudity into the equation, the pageant no longer becomes about the entire package of brains and beauty. Rather, the focus shifts to body image. The notion that 'beauty' embodies absolute physical perfection is a frightening slippery slope, and quite dangerous for young women around the world to adhere to."
By asking these women to pose topless in their photos, Meyer argues, the Trump organization (which, along with NBC, co-owns the Miss Universe Organization) is segregating their candidates into two categories - the women willing to pose topless, and the ones who won't.
"By implementing topless photos as part of the pageant process, they're putting applicants in an extremely compromising position."
But a representative from the Miss Universe Organization told Pop Tarts that the women were in no way forced to pose topless and could opt for a more conservative shoot if they preferred.
Moreover, the rep argued that nudity was not an issue for many of the countries represented by the pageant.
"The contestants who compete at Miss Universe are diverse as they represent more than 82 countries around the globe. Many of their cultures embrace nudity," the rep said in a statement.
"These photos are a form of artistic expression for each contestant and we respect their desire to pose topless, or not. We feel the images captured are fashionable and cutting edge!" the rep added.
Still, pageant officials said the broadcast will be family-friendly, and therefore was not expected to be banned in more conservative countries, where nudity could be in conflict with cultural values. (ANI)