Monday 17 June 2019

Ex-Miss America winners mocked in CEO emails demand resignations

Miss New York Mallory Hytes Hagan was crowned Miss America 2013 in Las Vegas (AP)
Miss New York Mallory Hytes Hagan was crowned Miss America 2013 in Las Vegas (AP)

Some former Miss Americas who were attacked in emails by the beauty pageant's CEO are calling on him and other organisation leaders to resign.

Three former title holders who were targeted for abuse in emails to and from Miss America Organisation CEO Sam Haskell have said the group's leadership needs to be replaced.

Mallory Hagan's appearance and sexual habits were mocked in the emails.

Pageant officials also wrote that when one former Miss America died, they wished it had been a different former Miss America instead.

They also mocked former winner Gretchen Carlson.

The Huffington Post reported on the emails, which it says it received from two sources.

Ms Hagan, who won in 2013, said: "My hope is that this story that broke will bring light to the type of behaviour that's been in leadership of the Miss America Organisation and really help us put in place some people who care and who embody the mission of Miss America.

"Having somebody bully you, demean you, degrade you in any way is not OK."

In other emails, a former writer for the pageant notes the death of one former Miss America, and muses that he wished it had been 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle who had died instead.

Ms Shindle wrote a book critical of the Miss America Organisation.

Mr Haskell responded to the email, indicating it made him laugh.

Ms Shindle wrote on Twitter: "The entire board of directors must immediately resign, including and especially Sam Haskell."

She added that the content of the emails "makes me physically ill".

Mr Haskell also wrote of tactics that would drive 1989 Miss America Ms Carlson "insane".

The Huffington Post reported she had clashed with Mr Haskell and pageant officials over her push to modernise the organisation, and her refusal to attack other former Miss America winners.

Ms Carlson wrote on Twitter that any board member or official who tolerated such conduct should resign immediately.

"No woman should be demeaned with such vulgar slurs," she wrote.

The Miss America Organisation said on Thursday night that Mr Haskell has apologised, and that the group is revising its policies regarding communications, adding it considers the matter closed.

Mr Haskell and Miss America Organisation officials did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

The emails have cost the pageant its television production partner and raised questions about the future of the nationally televised broadcast from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall the week after Labour Day each year.

Dick Clark Productions said it has cut ties with the Miss America Organisation over the emails, the content of which they found "appalling".

The Huffington Post article shows that Mr Haskell and others directed considerable attention to Ms Hagan.

He forwarded an email he had been sent regarding Ms Hagan to a writer for the pageant.

The writer responded by questioning whether he and Mr Haskell were part of a tiny group of people who had not had sex with Ms Hagan.

"It appears we are the only ones!" Mr Haskell replied, according to the Huffington Post.

Mr Haskell also responded to an email from the writer which used a vulgar term to refer to former Miss Americas by indicating he found it amusing.

Press Association

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