Miss America CEO, other leaders resign after report of derogatory emails

Dec 26, 2017, 01:02
Miss America CEO, other leaders resign after report of derogatory emails

The CEO of the Miss America organization, along with the COO and a board chair, have resigned after The Huffington Post published emails from them where they fat-shamed, slut-shamed, and even joked about the death of a former pageant victor.

The Miss America Organization was founded in 1921 and nowadays annually hosts pageants open to women aged from 17 to 24 who live in the USA to participate.

The scandal began Thursday, when the Huffington Post published leaked emails showing pageant officials ridiculing past Miss Americas, including crass and sometimes vulgar comments about them.

The president, Josh Randle, told The Associated Press his comment responding to an email to his private account about the physical appearance of 2013 victor Mallory Hagan came months before he started working for the Miss America Organization in 2015.

Randle was one of three top Miss America officials to resign Saturday, along with CEO Sam Haskell and Chairman Lynn Weidner.

Dick Clark Productions, which puts on the show annually, cut ties with the pageant after Haskell's emails came to light, calling them "appalling".

The organization's outgoing president has apologized to Hagan, whose weight he and others ridiculed in an email exchange. "It does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at the Miss America Organization".

The pageant has for years faced criticism that it objectifies women, and the scandal over the emails has led to renewed scrutiny of the annual event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals said Saturday it's "conducting an immediate review of the situation and will take appropriate actions".

"Miss America is more than a title, it's a movement of empowering young women everywhere to achieve their dreams", the organization's website states.

Miss America's Board of Directors announced Haskell's suspension and a pending investigation into his emails on December 23.

"Although I have certainly been vilified unjustly by some in recent days, I know that all will be made more clear with time", she said.

According to the Huffington Post's Yashar Ali, who broke the story of some incendiary emails in which Haskell appeared to directly insult and be complicit in other insults against former Miss Americas, Haskell resigned today.

In another exchange from August 2014, Haskell forwarded an email that said Hagan's hairdresser had been commenting on Hagan's sex life, as well as her recent weight gain to Miss America telecast lead writer Lewis Friedman and noted, "Not a single day passes that I am not told some awful story about Mallory". Mr. Haskell's resignation is effective immediately, while Mr. Randle and Mr. Weidner will remain for a few weeks to help with a leadership transition.