Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, Is Picked to Lead Pageant

Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, Is Picked to Lead Pageant

On Dec. 21, HuffPost published emails that showed Sam Haskell, the chief executive, had made misogynistic remarks about former winners and at times was supported by other organization leaders. The emails indicated that he had shamed Mallory Hagan, a former pageant winner, over her weight and sex life.

Two days later, the organization accepted the resignations of Mr. Haskell; Josh Randle, the president; and Lynn Weidner, the chairwoman. Several other board members have resigned.

Ms. Carlson, who has previously served on the board, was one of 49 pageant winners to sign a letter on Dec. 22 demanding the resignations, calling the leaders’ behavior “despicable.”

“The women of Miss America are determined to take back our program,” Ms. Carlson and Ms. Shindle wrote in a statement after the resignations. “This is not over yet.”


Ms. Carlson, left, the 1989 Miss America, with the first runner-up for 1990, Virginia Cha of Maryland, center, and Ms. Carlson’s successor, Debbye Turner of Missouri.

Tom Patrick/Associated Press

After the emails surfaced, Dick Clark Productions, the pageant’s production company and a key broadcast partner, said it was “appalled by their unacceptable content” and cut its ties.

In her lawsuit against Mr. Ailes, Ms. Carlson accused him of forcing her out after she refused his explicit sexual advances. She wrote in a November 2016 Op-Ed essay that many women had started coming to her with their own stories of harassment.

She wrote that she twice experienced sexual harassment after being named Miss America.

“On one occasion, a well-known television executive stuck his tongue down my throat in the back seat of a car we were sharing,” she wrote. “And just a few weeks later, a famous publicist in Los Angeles shoved my head into his crotch so forcefully I couldn’t breathe.”

Ms. Carlson said in Monday’s statement that the new board would “continue an ongoing inclusive and transparent process to identify additional new board members and management.”

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