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Former Miss America Gretchen Carlson to Be New Leader of Pageant after Sexual Harassment Scandal
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6 Jan 2018 03:40 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Gretchen Carlson (Image Source: Public Domain)

This one seems like a marriage made in heaven: three executives resigned from their positions in the Miss America pageant organization amidst reports of misconduct, and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson, herself a victim of sexual harassment, is stepping in to head up the organization.

It was just a few weeks back that Huffington Post published emails written by the chief executive of the pageant, Sam Haskell, that showed he had made sexist remarks about some former winners. Even worse was that other higher-ups in the organization seemed to support him. He had indicated in the emails that he had shamed former pageant winner Mallory Hagan over her weight as well as her sex life.

It didn't take long—only two days—for Haskell, president Josh Randle, and chairwoman Lynn Weidner to resign from the organization. Other board members ended up resigning as well.

Carlson, a former Miss Minnesota, became the third woman from the state to win the Miss America pageant. Following her win, she went into broadcasting and became an anchor and reporter for local stations and later landed at CBS before moving on to Fox & Friends on Fox News and later her own show.

Just days after her contract ended at Fox, the newswoman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. This led to other women alleging the same thing, and a few weeks later Ailes resigned.

Having previously been on the board for Miss America, she joined 48 other pageant winners to demand the resignations of the leaders whose behavior they found "despicable."

They said, "The women of Miss America are determined to take back our program."

Carlson herself will be helping the pageant get through this scandal after taking over as chairwoman of the board of directors. She tweeted that she is "honored to move this iconic program forward with so many amazing volunteers."

"Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program," she said in a statement. "In the end we all want a strong, relevant Miss America, and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future."

Other former winners have also been named to the board. These include 2012 winner Laura Kaeppeler, 2000 winner Heather French Henry, and 1998 winner Kate Shindle.

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