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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Miss America officials resign amid leaked email scandal

Pageant officials ridiculing past Miss Americas.

Share on Facebook December 24, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 400

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NEW YORK, U.S. - A leaked emails scandal has rocked the Miss America Organisation, after the emails showed pageant officials ridiculing past Miss Americas.

Following the revelations made in the emails, that contained crass and sometimes vulgar comments about past Miss Americas - three Miss America officials have announced their resignation.

The President, CEO and chairwoman of the organisation have all quit after the shocking emails revealed the level of ridiculing of women for their appearance, intellect and sex lives.

On Thursday, the Huffington Post published the leaked emails which showed the vulgar references made by officials to past winners and comments about their sex lives.

One of the emails saw the officials using a vulgar term for female genitalia to refer to past Miss America winners, and another that wished that a particular former Miss America had died and others that speculated about a former Miss America winner from 2013, Mallory Hagan’s sex life.

First, Board member Tammy Haddad resigned.

Then, on Saturday, the president, Josh Randle, quit along with chief executive Sam Haskell and chairwoman Lynn Weidner, a former Miss New Jersey.

Randle argued that his comment in an email about the physical appearance of Hagan came months before he started working for the Miss America Organization in 2015. 

He, however, said it was wrong.

Randle said on Saturday, “I apologize to Mallory for my lapse in judgment. It does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at the Miss America Organization. Although this terrible situation was not caused or driven by me, in light of recent events and new developments, I am no longer willing to continue in my capacity as president and earlier today offered my resignation to the MAO board of directors.”

Randle added that his resignation was voluntary and had not been requested by the board, which is based in Atlantic City.

Meanwhile, the same night, Weidner said that she had “nothing but love for the Miss America Organization and the incredible women” who comprise it.

She added, “Although I have certainly been vilified unjustly by some in recent days, I know that all will be made more clear with time. My 46 years of involvement and my past 10 years on the board as a full-time volunteer have been a gift. It is amazing how most of the greatest blessings in my life can be traced back to that summer day when I was 16 years old and entered my first local Miss America Pageant.”

Randle meanwhile, added that that the worst communications were exchanged in 2013 and 2014, years before he joined the Miss America Organization.

Commenting on the Huffington Post revelation, he said, the article’s implication of “complicit participation on my part in a years long array of inappropriate email communication” is untrue.

CEO Sam Haskell’s resignation is effective immediately, while Randle and Weidner will remain for a few weeks to help with a leadership transition. 

Amid the scandal, Dan Meyers, who had been vice chairman of the board, was named interim chairman.

The resignations were announced by the organization a day after dozens of former Miss Americas, including Hagan, signed a petition calling on the group’s leadership to step down because of the emails.

They wrote in the petition, “We stand firmly against harassment, bullying and shaming – especially of women – through the use of derogatory terms meant to belittle and demean.”

With the three officials resigning, anger about the treatment of women in the entertainment industry is set to intensify further, especially in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the subsequent series of allegations against other men.

The internal emails that included name-calling, slut-shaming and fat-shaming of some of the contestants who had taken part in the pageant has already cost the pageant its television production partner.

It has also raised questions about the future of the nationally televised broadcast from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall the week after Labor Day each year. 

On Thursday, Dick Clark Productions said that it cut ties with the Miss America Organization over the emails, and were "appalled by their unacceptable content.”

One of the main recipients of fundraising from the Miss America Organization said on Saturday that it was reviewing its association with Miss America. 

In addition, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals said it was “conducting an immediate review of the situation and will take appropriate actions.”

Currently, New Jersey officials are reviewing their Miss America Organization contract, in which the state still owes $4 million toward the cost of next year’s pageant.

Hagan, who was mocked in some of the emails said she "wasn't shocked, but [felt] validated by the emails.”

She added, "For the longest time, I've tried to explain to people around me that this is happening or these things are being said.”

Meanwhile, Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and a television presenter, said the alleged emails contained "disgusting statements about women" and "vulgar slurs.”

 

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