Miss America Organization divided over leadership

gretchen carlson, miss america

A schism has opened up within the Miss America Organization, calling for the resignation of its current leadership.

A petition bearing the signatures of representatives of 22 state pageants has called for the immediate resignation of its entire Board of Trustees, including Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson. Carlson is a recent head of MAO, just barely six months into her new position after a 2017 email scandal within the organization.

At the same time, a letter in support of Carlson and her leadership was sent to The Press of Atlantic City. Signed by 30 former Miss Americas, the letter states they “fully support…our unified board who are and have been working tirelessly to move our program forward.”

This divide comes just six months after a rocky scandal within the organization in which former CEO Sam Haskell and others degraded their contestants through email. Haskell resigned December 23 and other trustees followed, paving the way for Carlson and current President and CEO Regina Hopper to take power in January. Carlson helmed the recent overhaul of MAO, which including scrapping the swimsuit competition and redefining the rules of the evening gown portion to allow contestants to wear whatever they feel most confident and expressive in.

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