After the top three leaders of the Miss America Organization resigned Saturday in response to emails showing their disparaging comments toward former contestants, former winners are asking for more change.
CEO and Executive Chairman Sam Haskell, President and COO Josh Randle and Board of Directors Chairman Lynn Weidner all resigned after being implicated in an email scandal in which their emails showed inappropriate criticism of former winners and contestants' appearance, intelligence and sex lives.
Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle and 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson released a joint statement on Saturday, calling for the rest of the Board of Directors to step down.
"While it is reassuring that some of the perpetrators of the abuses within the Miss America Organization have resigned, this by no means fulfills the need for a thorough housecleaning of the Board of Directors," the statement said. "As evidenced by the thousands of voices—of contestants, former titleholders, local, state and national volunteers – being raised in support of our goals, this Board of Directors has lost the trust of the country. For the good of the organization, they must step away. The women of Miss America are determined to take back our program. This is not over yet."
Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, who turned 29 Saturday, was a subject of some of the worst of the emails between Haskell and other members of the organization.
"Happy Birthday to me!" she said, but "there is still more housekeeping to do."
Hagan said more board and staff members need to resign, including Meyers and Vice President of Field Operations Marc Angeli.
"He (Angeli) is the one who has done Sam's dirty work for a long time," said Hagan. Angeli delivered messages from Haskell about which former Miss Americas should not be spoken to or interacted with, she said.
Hagan said Randle did call her and apologize via voicemail, but she hasn't responded yet.
"I'm not really sure how I feel about that," she said. "But I appreciate the gesture. He's the first person from the organization I have heard from in any capacity."
Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles, who grew up in Mays Landing, was one of 56 former pageant winners who signed a petition demanding Haskell and the rest of the organization’s board of directors step down. She would like to be a member of a newly constituted board, she said.
"It's a great holiday present for all of us," she said.
"We did it together. All of us kept texting, emailing, tweeting each other, pooling our resources," Charles said of former Misses America, contestants, volunteers and local and state organizers who pushed for new leadership.
On Saturday, Charles said she received an email from Carlson, confirming more than 2,000 state and local pageant organizers have signed another petition to remove Haskell.
They will now stay involved and work on strengthening the program, she said.
"We are ready to pull our sleeves up and get to work to build Miss America back to where it used to be and should be," Charles said.
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