Sunday 11 December 2016

Vanessa Williams finally receives apology from Miss America over dethroning - 32 years later

Independent.ie Newsdesk and Agencies

Published 14/09/2015 | 10:41

Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams performs during the Miss America Pageant at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams performs during the Miss America Pageant at Boardwalk Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell (L) reacts after winning Miss America 2016 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this Sept. 17, 1983 file photo, Miss New York Vanessa Williams appears during her coronation walk after she was crowned Miss America 1984 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.
Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams receives a public apology from Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization

Vanessa Williams has received an apology from the Miss America organisation.

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The talented US star, who's enjoyed success as both an actress and singer, was crowned Miss America from 1983 to 1984.

However her win was mired with controversy, and she was forced to resign after nude photos of her surfaced. Last night the 52-year-old took to the stage once again, this time as a judge, and was offered an apology from current CEO Sam Haskell.

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Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams receives a public apology from Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization
Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams receives a public apology from Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization

“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years. You have lived your life in grace and dignity and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organisation were involved then, on behalf of today’s organisation, I want to apologise to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams," Sam told Vanessa live on air.

"I want to apologise for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.”

Vanessa broke barriers with her 1983 win, becoming the first black woman to take the title. However not everyone agreed with her crown, and she was plagued with hate mail and racist comments.

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In this Sept. 17, 1983 file photo, Miss New York Vanessa Williams appears during her coronation walk after she was crowned Miss America 1984 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.
In this Sept. 17, 1983 file photo, Miss New York Vanessa Williams appears during her coronation walk after she was crowned Miss America 1984 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

"I never imagined I'd be that depressed about being Miss America," Vanessa previously told People.

Things got even tougher a year later when naked photos of Vanessa found their way into Penthouse magazine.

"I'm just moving on, for there is nothing I can do to change that, so I just have to deal with it and move on," she said in a 1990 interview with Ebony magazine. "If situations arose where I could get revenge, I absolutely would. But at this point, success is the best revenge."

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell (L) reacts after winning Miss America 2016 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell (L) reacts after winning Miss America 2016 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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