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As if we needed another horrible story to top off 2017, on Thursday The Huffington Post published leaked emails (opens in new tab) over the course of three years from Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell revealing name-calling and fat-shaming of former Miss America pageant contestants. In August 2014, the CEO sent the first of many emails to writer Lewis Friedman regarding script changes to the show. The conversation went a little something like this:
Haskell: “I have decided that when referring to a woman who was once Miss America, we are no longer going to call them Forever Miss Americas....please change all script copy to reflect that they are Former Miss Americas!”
Friedman: “I’d already changed “Forevers” to “Cunts.” Does that work for you?”
You can read more of the horrifying emails here (opens in new tab) (this isn't even the worst of it). The show's producer, Dick Clark Productions, has reportedly cut ties (opens in new tab) with the Miss America Organization following the revelations and noted that the company knew about the emails months ago:
“We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation,” the production company revealed in a statement (opens in new tab). “Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.”
On Friday the 2013 Miss America pageant winner, Mallory Hagan, spoke out about the emails (opens in new tab) on The Today Show: "When I first read the emails in the article, I wasn't shocked, but I was validated. I mean for the longest time I tried to explain to people around me that this is happening or that these things are being said...see, I told you."
Haskell has been with the company for 12 years. Disappointing, to say the least.
Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.
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