Members of the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia are protesting against the Miss World pageant which is scheduled for this weekend on the resort island of Bali. Although the local organizer of the contest, MNC media group, has assured the public there will be no bikini contest (contestants will wear a one-piece swimsuit with sarong), protesters continue to rally outside the MNC office claiming the exposure of skin by women in such a competition violates Islamic teachings. (Miss World, one of the most publicized beauty contests in the world, started in 1951 as the Festival Bikini Contest.)
In 2011, Los Angeles-based American investment company Saban Capital Group acquired a 7.5% stake in MNC, which runs several television and radio stations, ad agencies and record labels in Indonesia. Saban is led by US billionaire Haim Saban (he’s ranked by Forbes as the 144th richest person in America). The Egyptian-born Israeli-American Saban is best known in the biz for establishing Fox Family Worldwide, which produced the Power Rangers show/franchise phenomenon, among others. In 2001, Saban and News Corporation’s Rupert Murdoch sold their ownership in Fox Family Worldwide to the Walt Disney Company. (Saban profited about $1.6 billion from the sale.) He is also heavily involved in American politics, as a generous and consistent donor to the US Democratic Party. (His $10M donation during 2001-2002 was at the time the largest the DNC had ever received from a single source.) So Saban can certainly be said to have all kinds of skin in the game, but his Indonesian company promises it won’t show too much of it.