Post the scandalous e-mail controversy, CEO Sam Haskell resigns and Mallory Hagan finally speaks out

26 Dec 2017 | Camilla Suarez

It all started on Thursday, when the Huffington post reports came out that surfaced the leaked derogatory e-mail conversation between the Top management of the Miss America organization. 

In this e-mail conversation between CEO Sam Haskell, board members and pageant writers regarding contestants, they used demeaning language for the former Miss America pageant winners. From fat-shaming Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan and also commenting on her sex life, to calling the winners a “pile of malcontents and has beens who blame the program for not getting them where they think they can go.”

What was more shocking in this whole ordeal was when Mary Ann Mobley, a former Miss America, died in 2014, Mr. Haskell was part of an email chain with the heading “It Should Have Been Kate Shindle.” Kate, Miss America 1998, has been an outspoken critic of some of the pageant’s practices, as well as its decision to pay Mr. Haskell $500,000 when the organization was in debt.

In another one of these e-mails, Board member Tammy Haddad described Gretchen Carlson, who won the Miss America title in 1989, as a "snake," and seemingly plotted retribution against Gretchen for her refusal to comply with the organization's request to speak out in defense of Haskell, according to the Huffington Post report. 

Following this whole controversy, on Friday, the pageant organized an independent legal counsel to investigate while Lewis Friedman, the televised pageant’s head writer was fired and there was a collective call from 46 former Miss Americas who demanded resignation from the top management who were involved in this misogynistic, fat-shaming and slut-shaming conversation.

Now the CEO Sam Haskins has officially put down his resignation in front of the board while President and COO Josh Randle and Chairman Lynn Weidner along with board member Tammy Haddad had all stepped down earlier already. 


Post the scandalous e-mail controversy, CEO Sam Haskell resigns and Mallory Hagan finally speaks out


Saturday night finally saw the reaction of Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, the main receptive of this disparaging conversation, when she took to tweet to respond - 

"I wanna say cheers to my birthday, and just the day in general, because it's been a wild one," she said while holding up a wine glass. "Many of you have written and sent your congratulations or condolences and I just want to say it's been a pretty awesome day. I would be remiss if I didn't say thanks to Brent (Adams, the Miss America Organization employee who spoke with Huffington Post) and all of the women in the Miss America organization."

She continued: "We would love your support and encouragement, but we also need your voices still. We're not quite there, but we have much to celebrate, and I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you."

The most recent winner of the pageant competition, Cara Mund, also tweeted, sending a positive message with a photo of herself on Saturday.

"Do you remember the first time you were asked, 'What do you want to be when you grow up'? Since kindergarten my answer has been, and always will be, 'Miss America’.Please remember it is after the heaviest of reigns that we discover the greatest of rainbows. Thank you all for the love and support during this difficult time." the winner from North Dakota said.

In the wake of all the happenings, Dick Clark Productions, which produces the nationally televised pageant broadcast, has also severed its ties with the pageant. 

It’s a shame that such highly educated and talent individuals who are also responsible to shape up the future of beautiful and highly intellect women competing in pageants can actually stoop to such low measures. Harassment and shaming of women is never acceptable and should never be tolerated. The Miss America Organization, which is tasked to uphold an almost 100 year old tradition of female empowerment and scholarship, deserves better than this at least. And if not, then it’s highly doubtful whether this pageant will sustain further in the wake of such mishappenings.