Miss America CEO Accused of Slut-Shaming Former Winner Mallory Hagan

Miss America CEO Accused of Slut-Shaming Mallory Hagan
Miss America CEO Sam Haskell and former winner Mallory Hagan. Donald Kravitz/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images

The Miss America Organization is under fire after internal correspondence was leaked on Thursday, December 21, that allegedly revealed inappropriate conversations between CEO Sam Haskell, board members and pageant writers about the contestants.

The Huffington Post published the emails in which they ridiculed past winners referring to them with vulgar names, and also fat-shamed and slut-shamed the women. In August 2014, Haskell sent an email to the lead writer of the Miss America pageant telecast, Lewis Friedman, about a change in the script that would go from referring to past winners as “Forever Miss Americas” to “Former Miss Americas.” Friedman responded to that email, “I’d already changed ‘Forevers’ to ‘C–ts.’ Does that work for you?” Haskell replied with, “Perfect…bahahaha.”

Mallory Hagan, 2013’s winner, was a target in some of Haskell’s emails, which focused on her weight gain and her sex life. “Not a single day passes that I am not told some horrible story about Mallory,” he wrote in an email to Friedman, which included a forwarded message he had received from Hagan’s hairdresser about the former winner’s sex life.

“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 responded. He ended the email with, “Ps. Are we four the only ones not to have f–ked Mallory?”

“It appears we are the only ones!” Haskell wrote.

Haskell also forwarded his conversations between himself and board member Tammy Haddad, a media consultant and D.C. power connector, to another Miss America executive, which showed their conversations about former winners. In one exchange, Haddad referred to them as a “pile of malcontents and has beens who blame the program for not getting them where they think they can go.”

She added: “Eighty percent of the winners do not have the class, smarts and model for success.”

A Miss America Organization spokesman released a statement on behalf of Haddad and Haskell to the publication, revealing that they had fired Friedman following their internal investigation. “The Miss America Organization Board of Directors was notified about the concern of inappropriate language in email communications several months ago. Consequently, the organization’s Board of Directors took the allegations of inappropriate comments very seriously and formed an investigative committee,” the spokesman wrote. “As a result of the investigation, the Board directed the organization terminate the relationship with most egregious author of inappropriate comments. In addition, the Board has started the process of instituting additional policies and procedures for communication.”

“The Board has full confidence in the Miss America Organization leadership team,” he added.

Friedman, in response to a request for comment from the HuffPost, told the publication: “Before commenting to correct your information and provide context, I’ll speak to my attorney as this matter is the subject of pending litigation.”

Hagan, 28, appeared on the Today show on Friday, December 22, to talk about the emails.

“When I first read the emails in the article, I wasn’t shocked but I was validated,” she said. “For the longest time, I’d try to explain to people around me that this is happening, or these things are being said. And to have the ability to look on paper and say, ‘See, I told you.'”

The Associated Press reported that Dick Clark Productions cut ties with the organization on Thursday night because of the emails. The production company, which is behind the nationally televised pageants broadcasts, released a statement announcing their separation.

“We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation,” the company said in the statement to the AP. “Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.”

Haskell has been with the Miss America Organization since he first joined the board in 2005, after retiring from the William Morris Agency, where he was the worldwide head of television.

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