“The modernization of the international competition has been significantly slower than the Swedish contest, although we see signs of change on horizon. Until the parent organization catches up we have chosen not to participate this year,” organizer Panos Papadopoulos said in a statement on Wednesday.
The decision follows revelations that the current Miss Sweden, Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, posed in a swimsuit for the Swedish edition of men’s magazine FHM. Papadopoulous told The Local earlier this week that the pictures were out of line with the contest’s new modern image, adding he was considering removing her crown.
Wednesday’s statement did not link the decision to withdraw to Winqvist’s poses in FHM, but blamed the decision on criticism in Sweden “that we are sending candidates of this calibre to Miss Universe.”
The new, feminist Miss Sweden contest has no swimwear section. The focus has shifted to attracting “intelligent and well-educated candidates,” who are expected to be representatives of and role models for the youth of Sweden.
It is not clear from the statement whether Winqvist will retain her Swedish title. The Local has unsuccessfully sought the contest organizers for a comment.