Sunday, 18 February, 2018

Miss America Pageant Rocked by Scandal Over CEO's Slut-Shaming Emails

Fat-shaming and cruel c-word jibes Miss America scandal leads TV company to cut ties Miss America scandal leads TV company to cut ties
Jay Anderson | 24 December, 2017, 03:43

"I have decided that when referring to a woman who was once Miss America, we are no longer going to call them Forever Miss Americas", CEO Sam Haskell wrote in 2014 to Lewis Friedman, then the show's lead writer, in the emails obtained by the HuffingtonPost. Haddad was a member of the Miss America board until she resigned following the Post story.

Mallory Hagan, Miss America 2013, was a particular target of Haskell in his emails.

"We are deeply disturbed and saddened to learn of the sickening and egregious words used by Miss America leadership in reference both to our group and to specific members of our sisterhood", the former Miss Americas said in a joint statement. But the initial Huffington Post report said that the organization claimed it had already conducted an investigation over "allegations of inappropriate comments" in emails.

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which provides a $4 million annual subsidy to keep the pageant in Atlantic City, announced Friday that it was working with its legal counsel "to undertake an immediate review of its contract with the Miss America Organization and Dick Clark Productions to assess what steps we may need to take".

Past winners, including Kate Shindle, a Moorestown native who won the crown in 1998, said the organization's leadership needed to be purged but the institution, which holds its annual pageant at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, should be preserved. "In addition, the Board wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the education and empowerment of young women, supporting them in every way possible".

"When I first read the emails in the article, I wasn't shocked but I was validated", she said.

The Huffington Post recently published a report uncovering a series of emails from Haskell, who made and/or agreed with disparaging remarks about former winners, including ex-Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.




"The Miss America Organization Board of Directors was notified about the concern of inappropriate language in email communications several months ago".

Forty-nine former pageant winners - including Miss America 1948 Bebe Shopp and Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields - signed an online petition calling for action. "Please change all script copy to reflect that they are Former Miss Americas!"

Dick Clark Productions, which produces the nationally televised pageant broadcasts, told The Associated Press Thursday that it has cut ties with the pageant over the emails, calling them "appalling".

Through tears, the former Miss America added: "I'm truly an advocate for others-and sometimes it can be the most hard to advocate for yourself".

Hopper and Adams had hoped for a change in leadership, according to the Post. "That's why we went to DCP", Hopper said.

The 96-year-old Miss America pageant has always been a cultural flashpoint.

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