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Former Miss America calls request to help find new leaders "laughable"

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Former Miss America Mallory Hagan says the organization's request for her and other former Miss Americas to help find new leaders is "laughable" and insulting. Leaked emails showed that former executives, who have since resigned, mocked the bodies and sex lives of past pageant winners and called them vulgar names. Former CEO Sam Haskell made fun of Hagan's weight and made inappropriate comments about her sex life in emails.  

The board said Wednesday it wants former Miss Americas and state directors to help in the search for new leadership, asking them for nominations for four people to serve on a search committee that also will include two board members and a person the board members appoint. But Hagan told The Associated Press on Thursday that the offer is insulting to anyone who ever competed or volunteered in the pageant.

She and other former Miss Americas are renewing their call for the entire board to step down. The CEO, president and board chairman resigned Saturday.

"The statement from the remaining Miss America Board of Directors is an insult to every Miss America and volunteer's intelligence," Hagan said. "Implying that the complicit members of the current board will now choose the new leadership for the forward movement of the Miss America Organization is laughable.

"I will not stop until Miss America is led by the people who embody the morals and values that the organization holds dear," Hagan continued. "Whether they knew about these emails or not only confirms their inability to effectively lead this multi-million dollar nonprofit. If they truly care about the forward movement of the MAO, they should all step aside. Period."

Former Miss America, Kate Shindle, who was also targeted by former pageant officials, tweeted that the board's request was "unacceptable" and added the hashtag "#resign." 

Former Miss America and TV journalist Gretchen Carlson, who has become one of the biggest names in the movement to end sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, said, "The only solution that will #SaveMissAmerica is resignation of all board members--who expressed 'full confidence' in Haskell after reviewing his appalling emails, & have reportedly handed him a severance package."

Carlson also asked fans to sign a petition calling for the removal of all Miss America board members.

The board was hoping for nominations for the search committee by Jan. 3, but it was not immediately clear what would happen if the former winners do not participate.

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