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What You NEED to Know About the Miss America Email Scandal

If you’re anything like me, you’ve gotten lost with all the different articles regarding the emails sent and received by the Miss America CEO Sam Haskell. From losing Dick Clark Productions to Haskell’s resignation from the Board of Directors and CEO position, we’ve pulled together all of the information you need to know about the Miss America emails.

About the emails

On Thursday night, a Huffington Post article revealed screenshots of emails sent to and from members of the Board of Directors, Haskell, and a telecast writer for the Miss America final show. The emails spanned three years, 2013 to 2015, and made several inappropriate remarks about former Miss America titleholders. While many former titleholders were talked about negatively, none were targeted quite like Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan.

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Hagan’s weight and romantic history became the subject of several emails after she started dating Haskell’s employee Brent Adams. Comments in those emails were centered around her weight during and after her reign as Miss America and stories of her interactions with men. Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle and Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson were also targeted in the emails. (Read: Miss America CEO Targets Former Miss Americas in Organization Emails)

About the consequences of the emails

Due to the emails, Dick Clark Productions has severed all connections with the Miss America Organization, which means the pageant has been left without a television home for the final show. Dick Clark Productions had formerly been notified of the emails sent and required the Miss America Organization to conduct an investigation into the matter. As a result of that investigation, Lewis Friedman, a telecast writer sending inappropriate emails to Haskell, was terminated.

New Jersey State Senator Colin Bell has joined the list of people calling for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to stop funding the pageant in wake of the email scandal. CRDA Executive Director announced that the CRDA will be reviewing the contract with the Miss America Organization to determine whether to terminate the contract.

Yesterday, Tammy Haddad, one of the Board members who was a part of the email scandal, announced her resignation from the Board of Directors.

“After serving 14 years as a volunteer board member, early this year I notified Sam Haskell of my plans to resign. I want to advise the rest of the board that this is effective immediately and wish you all the best,” Haddad said. “The women who put their hopes and dreams into this program are the best of America, as well as those who have worn the Miss America crown, traveling the country lifting hearts and spirits through their service above self.”

Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions
COO and President Josh Randle Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions

Today brought more resignations from the Board members. CEO Haskell, COO and President Randle and Board Chairman Lynn Weidner resigned today as well. Both Haskell and Randle’s resignations were effective immediately while Weidner’s resignation will be effective in 90 days to ensure the organization has a successful transition into new leadership.

About the former Miss Americas’ responses

Shortly after the news broke, former and current Miss America titleholders started speaking out about the emails. Hagan and Shindle appeared Friday morning on the Today Show to discuss the contents of the emails and their reactions to the news.

Yesterday, 49 former Miss Americas released a collective statement calling for the resignation of the entire Board of Directors. (Read: Former Miss Americas Demand Board Resignation)

Photo: HuffPost
Photo: HuffPost

About the Board’s response

Last night, the Board of Directors announced its decision to indefinitely suspend Haskell pending an investigation. Today, the Board announced the news of the three new resignations. Haskell has responded to the story and commented that it was “unkind and untrue” and that the allegations really hurt him, his family and the organization as a whole. (Read: Miss America CEO Suspended and Responds to Allegations)

Many have taken to social media to express their disappointment in the Board’s decision, saying that the Board did not go far enough in dealing with this scandal. Hagan compared the situation to finding out a principal of a school was talking about students this way and that the superintendent would immediately terminate the principal. She thinks that it is time for a former Miss America to take over the organization.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Many others have taken to Haskell’s Instagram to express their opinions of his behavior. The comments section of Haskell’s Instagram posts contains comments many calls for his resignation.

“Words cannot convey my disappointment in your lack of respect for the women you were supposed to support and celebrate,” one Instagram comment reads. “Every girl in this program respected and trusted you, as did every parent and volunteer. I hope that you and the other directors will take the only action appropriate in this situation and resign your positions, allowing someone who genuinely cares for those of us in this program to take us forward. We are a sisterhood, and the betrayal of one is the betrayal of all.”

About the consequences of the Board’s decision

After the Board of Directors announced its decision, former Miss America titleholders and volunteers are worried that this will not be enough to save the organization. So long as the Board of Directors that condoned this behavior remain in power, the organization will continue to suffer. How this situation is handled could very well determine the fate of the Miss America Organization.

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