Two women resigned from running state competitions in order to join the Miss America board of directors as it rebuilds after an email scandal, the organization said in a news release.
The release said Jessie Bennett, the former executive director of the Miss Arkansas Competition, and Ashley Byrd, the former executive director of the Miss South Carolina Competition, were “put forward by their fellow state Executive Directors to represent the states at this critical phase of our restructuring.”
The organization’s two highest executives, including former CEO and Executive Chairman Sam Haskell, and most of its board members resigned in December after an email scandal.
Emails surfaced showing some staff and board members participated in email chains that disparaged the intelligence, appearance and sex lives of former Miss Americas.
Thousands of people, including many former Miss Americas and volunteers in state pageants around the country, demanded the resignations. They were angry at those who saw the emails at the time and did nothing and those who saw the emails later but still backed Haskell.
Bennett and Byrd were unanimously elected, the organization said. They resigned their positions to avoid any conflicts.
“Subsequent to serving on the board, they can be considered for reappointment as Executive Directors in their states,” the release said. “We welcome their leadership and look forward to working together in shaping Miss America in 2018 and beyond.”