5 Quotes Miss America Officials Said About Pageant Winners That Are So Gross
On Thursday, the Huffington Post reported on several leaked emails from Miss America officials in which they made disturbing comments that shamed former pageant winners for their bodies and sex lives. This revelation resulted in Dick Clark Productions, which produces the pageant, announcing that it has cut ties with the Miss America Organization. Moreover, calls are mounting for Miss America's top leadership to resign, with 49 Former Miss Americas calling for the departure of CEO Sam Haskell and other prominent organization members.
UPDATE: The Miss America Organization suspended Haskell late Friday pending an investigation. "Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable," Haskell wrote in a statement, according to USA Today. "The material is based on private emails that were stolen three years ago by ex employees. The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this non-profit."
The emailed conversations came from those in senior positions at the Miss America Organization, including Haskell and former top pageant telecast writer Lewis Friedman. The exchanges involved cruel and disparaging remarks made about former pageant winners. In announcing its split with the organization, Dick Clark Productions noted the "unacceptable" nature of the content of the emails, saying:
We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation ... Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.
The following is a rundown of the most offensive comments made by the Miss America officials about former pageant winners, which reflect a complete disrespect for the women who chose to participate in the nationwide competition.
1. "Forever Miss Americas" Becomes "C***s"
In an email exchange with Haskell, the Miss America CEO, top writer Friedman — who has been let go from the organization following an internal investigation into the emails— suggested using a highly degrading name to refer to past Miss America winners:
Haskell: “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....please change all script copy to reflect that they are Former Miss Americas!"
Friedman: “I’d already changed “Forevers” to “C***s.” Does that work for you?”
2. A "Piece of Trash"
Haskell also owns a production company and employed a man named Brent Adams, who once dated Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan. According to Adams, Haskell had wanted him to date his daughter and not Hagan, and the CEO once degraded Hagan to Adams and discouraged him from pursuing a romantic relationship with her:
You don’t need a piece of trash like Mallory [Hagan]. You need someone with class and money like my daughter.
3. A Career "As A Blimp In The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade"
In a 2014 email to Haskell, Friedman made disparaging comments about Hagan's body and her sex life:
... Mallory’s preparing for her new career … as a blimp in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. As she continues to destroy her own credibility, her voice will attract less and less notice while she continues her descent to an unhappy pathetic footnote ... Ps. Are we four the only ones not to have f***ed Mallory?
4. She's "Huge And Gross"
In 2015, Haskell received an email containing a photo of Hagan along with other former Miss America winners. In replying to the email, Haskell cruelly critiqued Hagan's body:
OMG she is huge...and gross...why does he [presumably Hagan's romantic interest] want that?????
5. Death Wish
In writing an email to Haskell to express his condolences about the death of former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, Friedman implied that he wished Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle, who had written a book that was critical of Haskell, had died instead.
Friedman's Email Subject Line: “It should have been [former Miss America] Kate Shindle.”
Friedman's Email Content: “So sorry to hear about [the death of] Mary Ann Mobley.”
Haskell's Reply: “Thanks so much Coach...even in my sadness you can make me laugh ..."
These leaked emails show that top leadership at the Miss America Organization repeatedly participated in incredibly disrespectful conversations about former pageant winners. Time will tell how these officials' actions will impact the future of the Miss America pageant, which has now lost its television production partner as a result.