A member of the Miss America board of directors resigned this week, according to a letter sent to the organization.
Ashley Byrd, who was appointed to the board in January, announced his resignation effective immediately in a letter dated Aug. 25 penned to volunteers of the Miss America Organization.
In the letter, Byrd says he “can no longer serve in (his) current capacity” after serving the organization at the local, state and national level for the past 25 years.
“Like so many of our volunteers, I am seeing an organization that is imploding from within on all levels,” the letter states. “Many have lost sight of an organization that I care deeply about — one that is now deeply divided.”
Miss America Organization officials have not responded to a request for comment on the resignation or changes to the board. The “Board of Directors” web page on the Miss America Organization website currently displays this message: “This page is currently under construction. Thank you for your patience while we are transitioning to our new design!”
The past few months leading up to the competition have brought controversy, including board chairwoman Gretchen Carlson announcing the removal of the swimsuit competition. The Miss America 2019 Competition is slated to take place on Sept. 9 in Atlantic City.
A petition was launched by some former Miss Americas calling for the removal of Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper, and Miss America 2018 Cara Mund made allegations earlier this month in a scathing five-page letter that she had been silenced, reduced and marginalized by the pageant’s leadership.
Byrd was appointed to the board in January shortly after former CEO and chairman Sam Haskell resigned following an email scandal showing disparaging comments made in reference to former Miss Americas’ intelligence, appearance and sex lives. At the time, Byrd resigned his former position of executive director of the Miss South Carolina Competition to avoid a conflict.
Byrd said in the letter that he continues to support every contestant who has participated in the program and “wants what is best for this organization.”
“During my eight months in this role, I stood strong to keep the best interest of the Organization sustainable and ensure that policies were in place for all aspects of the business,” the letter states. “Events have occurred where I can no longer continue to watch spirits breaking.”