Former Miss America starts petition to pressure organization leaders to resign

Posted at 9:12 PM, Dec 29, 2017

The Miss America Organization remains under siege nearly a week after an explosive Huffington Post report exposed emails allegedly belonging to the organization’s leadership in which they demean former pageant winners.

Now one of those women, Mallory Hagan, who won Miss America in 2013, is asking for people to sign her petition on calling for the resignation of the entire board of directors, and not just those implicated in the email.

The swift backlash against the Miss America Organization (MAO) after the news report has already brought about the resignations of CEO Sam Haskell, President Josh Randle and board members Tammy Haddad and Lynn Weidner over the weekend.

As of Thursday afternoon, Hagan’s petition, which was posted on Wednesday night, had garnered more than 6,000 signatures.

The petition came after MAO released a statement Wednesday night explaining how it hoped to replace those leaders who had resigned. In the statement, MAO says it’s inviting former Miss Americas and state directors to recommend individuals to be on a search committee.

The board of directors will also have a former state titleholder put on the committee, the statement said.

“In a continue exhibition of poor judgment, the current board of the Miss America Organization — which decided not to take action when appalling statements by Executive Chairman Sam Haskell were presented to them in September, and stood by Mr. Haskell while expressing ‘full confidence’ in his leadership—has now voted up a new process that they alone control,” Hagan wrote, adding the board’s path forward was “unacceptable.”

“The board needs to accept responsibility for the damage they have already caused, and step aside quickly to allow new leadership to save the Miss America program,” Hagan said.

The Huffington Post published the report last Thursday. It detailed email exchanges between Haskell and other MAO leaders in which they allegedly made demeaning comments about former Miss America winners’ weight or private sex lives.

Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor and a former Miss America who was also referenced in the emails, joined Hagan in condemning the board’s decision, calling it “unacceptable” on Twitter.

“The only solution that will #SaveMissAmerica, is resignation of all board members,” she said, adding in a subsequent tweet, “so that a new generation of leadership can step up to secure Miss America’s future.”

Carlson and another former Miss America mentioned in the emails, Kate Shindle, called last week for the remainder of the board to resign.