HuffPost reports on a series of emails exchanged between executives of the Miss America Organization which don’t show a lot of respect for their own contestants. I’ll get to some of those exchanges in a moment, but first here’s the basis for the HuffPost story by Yashar Ali:
For this story, HuffPost reviewed nearly three years of internal emails provided by two sources. They reveal a CEO who regularly wrote and responded to unprofessional, offensive emails about the women who poured their hearts into the pageants and the organization he was leading.
The image Miss America seeks to portray is one that empowers women but the emails suggest there was plenty of disrespect for them behind the scenes:
In late August 2014, the CEO of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, sent an email to the lead writer of the Miss America pageant telecast, Lewis Friedman, informing him of a change he wanted to make in the script: “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 replied, “I’d already changed “Forevers” to “C**ts.” Does that work for you?”
Haskell’s short reply came quickly: “Perfect…bahahaha.”
The 2013 winner of the pageant was Mallory Hagan. In 2014, Haskell and Friedman had another email exchange calling Hagan a blimp and suggesting she was a slut:
In August 2014, Haskell received an email from someone he knew, who said Hagan’s hairdresser in New York had been commenting on Hagan’s sex life while Hagan was living in Los Angeles, as well as her recent weight gain.
Haskell forwarded the email to Friedman saying, “Not a single day passes that I am not told some horrible story about Mallory.”
Friedman replied, “Mallory’s preparing for her new career … as a blimp in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. As she continues to destroy her own credibility, her voice will attract less and less notice while she continues her descent to an unhappy pathetic footnote.”
Friedman ended the email with, “Ps. Are we four the only ones not to have f**ked Mallory?”
Haskell replied and said, “It appears we are the only ones!”
After HuffPost contacted the Miss America Organization about these and other comments, a spokesman replied that, after an investigation, Friedman had been fired. Today, CNN reports that dozens of former Miss America winners are now calling for new leadership:
Following the report, 49 former Miss Americas — dating back to 1948 — called for the resignation of MAO’s leadership, including Haskell, Randle and Haddad…
“As dedicated members of communities, businesses and families, and ambassadors for the Miss America program across the country, we stand firmly against harassment, bullying and shaming — especially of women — through the use of derogatory terms meant to belittle and demean,” the former Miss Americans said in a statement.
“We collectively call for their immediate resignation.”
It’s obviously not a good look for the leader of an organization like this to be making catty comments about winners of his own pageant. I’m surprised Haskell hasn’t been fired yet. Perhaps the organization is going to quietly dismiss him over the holiday weekend?