Wednesday 18 July 2018

Miss America leadership resigns amid email shaming scandal

Sam Haskell said he had made 'an error of words' (AP)
Sam Haskell said he had made 'an error of words' (AP)

The leadership of the Miss America Organisation has resigned, sweeping out officials implicated in an email scandal that targeted past pageant winners for abuse based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives.

CEO Sam Haskell resigned from the group, based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a day after he was suspended by the board.

Also on Saturday, the organisation's president Josh Randle and chairman Lynn Weidner resigned.

The organisation announced the resignations a day after dozens of former Miss Americas signed a petition calling on the group's leadership to step down.

The emails were leaked to the Huffington Post, which first reported on them Thursday.

Mr Haskell said he made "a mistake of words".

His resignation is effective immediately, while Mr Randle and Ms Weidner will remain for a few weeks to help with the leadership transition.

The outgoing president of the organisation has apologised to a former Miss America whose weight he ridiculed in an email exchange with other pageant officials.

Josh Randle said his inappropriate response to an email about the appearance of 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan came several months before he worked at the Miss America Organisation.

But he nonetheless apologised to her on Saturday, saying the comment does not reflect his values or those of the organisation.

Hagan was among dozens of former Miss Americas who signed the petition.

Ms Hagan wants anyone who was warned away from her to come forward.

Her request on Facebook could be a precursor to legal action against the organisation or its former officers regarding her post-Miss America work as a pageant interview coach.

She is seeking anyone who was told not to work with her, communicate with her or hire her.

Press Association

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