The head of the organisation that stages the Miss America beauty pageant and other leaders with the group resigned on Saturday after a report this week alleging that emails he had sent were derogatory toward past winners, according to Reuters.
“This afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Miss America Organisation accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Haskell, effective immediately,” interim chairman of the board Dan Meyers said in a statement.
HuffPost published leaked emails two days before that included a vulgarity to refer to past winners, former winners being routinely maligned, and the shaming of one over her weight and sex life, with Haskell calling her “a piece of trash.”
Haskell and been suspended the previous day by the organisation, which said it would conduct an “in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications and the nature in which they were obtained.”
“The Board of Directors also accepted the resignation of Chairman Lynn Weidner,” according to the statement from Meyers, which said she would stay on for up to 90 days to “facilitate a smooth transition.”
Dozens of former Miss Americas, including a 87-year-old crowned in 1948 and a former Fox News host, had signed an open letter demanding the resignations of the organisation’s CEO, president and board chair.
“We stand firmly against harassment, bullying and shaming — especially of women – through the use of derogatory terms meant to belittle and demean,” HuffPost quoted the letter as saying.
“As Miss Americas, we strongly reject the mischaracterisations of us both collectively and individually. We also reject the ongoing efforts to divide our sisterhood and the attempts to pit us against one another.”
Signatories included Gretchen Carlson, who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2016 against then Fox News boss Roger Ailes for a reported $20 million, which precipitated his departure alongside others from the network.