As if we needed another horrible story to top off 2017, on Thursday The Huffington Post published leaked emails 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 (this isn't even the worst of it). The show's producer, Dick Clark Productions, has reportedly cut ties 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. “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 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.
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Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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