Update: December 22, 2017, at 11:40 a.m.
In a statement provided to Refinery29, Dick Clark Productions explained that it was made aware of "a portion" of the inappropriate email interactions and asked that Miss America Organization investigate the nature of the emails.
"We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization (MAO) board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation," the statement continues. "Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them."
In a separate statement, Miss America Organization explained that their investigation found that, at the time of the email exchange, Sam Haskell was under "unreasonable distress resulting from intense attacks on his family from stakeholders." Following the investigation, the Board of Directors has "implemented specific policies and protocols to directly address [the] matter and to prevent any issues moving forward."
Original story follows.
Dick Clark Productions, the company behind the televised Miss America pageant, has ended its relationship with the Miss America Organization following news that the organization's CEO made insensitive remarks about former contestants in emails. Representation for DCP told the Associated Press Thursday that the comments, published in The Huffington Post, were "appalling."
In its report, HuffPost revealed that the chief executive of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell, as well as other employees of the telecast, made extremely derogatory comments about the show's contestants in a series of emails. In one email, the lead writer of the telecast, Lewis Friedman, joked that they should change the title of the former Miss Americas to "cunt Miss America." Haskell seemingly endorsed this sentiment by replying with laughter. The report also alleges that Haskell fat-shamed and slut-shamed former Miss Americas, referring to the alumnae as a "pile of malcontents" in one email obtained by HuffPost.
A series of exchanges between Haskell and Friedman also obtained by HuffPost reveals a specific disdain for the former Miss America Mallory Hagan. In one email, Friedman jokingly refers to Haskell as a "blimp." Both Friedman and Haskell insinuated that Hagan had too many sexual partners. Haskell implied that Hagan might have an STI.
"Are we four the only ones not to have fucked Mallory?" Friedman wrote in a reply. Screenshots of this exchange have been published on HuffPost.
Shortly after the report was published, Hagan shared a statement via Twitter live. "The story that broke today is one that is extremely difficult to relive," Hagan told her followers. "Now that I have proof that they are happening, or they happened, it just feels pretty validating... My hope is that this story that broke will bring light to the type of behavior that's been in leadership of the Miss America Organization and really help us put in place people who care and who embody the mission of Miss America."
The Miss America Organization told HuffPost yesterday via a spokesperson that the company's board of directors had been made aware of the inappropriate comments some time ago.
"The Miss America Organization Board of Directors was notified about the concern of inappropriate language in email communications several months ago," the statement read. "Consequently, the organization’s Board of Directors took the allegations of inappropriate comments very seriously and formed an investigative committee."
The statement continued, "As a result of the investigation, the Board directed the organization terminate the relationship with the most egregious author of inappropriate comments. In addition, the Board has started the process of instituting additional policies and procedures for communication."
According to the Associated Press, Sam Haskell plans to make a statement Friday regarding the remarks obtained by HuffPost. As of now, he remains the chief executive of the board, although the MAO told the AP that he apologized to the organization's board of directors.
The future of the ceremony remains unclear. Without a television partner, the ceremony, which is usually televised in early September, has an uncertain future.
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