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Miss America CEO and Board Chair resigns amid email scandal

Less than 48 hours after inappropriate internal emails alleging derogatory coomments against past winners within the Miss America Organization were revealed, the head of the organization that stages the Miss America beauty pageant and other leaders with the group resigned on Saturday.

CEO Sam Haskell, president and COO of the organization, Josh Randle, Board chair Lynn Weidner (who sent emails that were the source of controversy) and Board member Tammy Haddad, all resigned from their positions within the organization.

Haskell had been suspended on Friday, one day after a Huffington Post report about the internal emails.

In some emails, Haskell wrote demeaning descriptions of previous winners of the Miss America pageant, calling one woman “huge” and “gross” and commenting on her sex life in emails he sent in 2014 and 2015, adding that at only 25 years old, she has lost count of the number of men she has slept with.

Miss America CEO and Board Chair resigns amid email scandal

Haskell alsmo made the derogatory comments about the former pageant winner’s weight in response to an email from Weidner, who attached a photo of several former Miss Americas but did not comment on the picture.

Randle, responding to a 2015 email in which Haskell had written demeaningly about the former pageant winner, wrote, “She’s a healthy one!”

The internal emails revealed by Huffington post also revealed a bunch of name calling, like ‘slut’. One email even referred to one of the former contestants as ‘c*nts’.

Josh Randle, said his comment responding to an email to his private account about the physical appearance of 2013 winner Mallory Hagan came months before he started working for the Miss America Organization in 2015. But he said it was wrong.

Miss America CEO and Board Chair resigns amid email scandal

“I apologize to Mallory for my lapse in judgment,” Randle said on Saturday. “It does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at the Miss America Organization. Although this terrible situation was not caused or driven by me, in light of recent events and new developments, I am no longer willing to continue in my capacity as president and earlier today offered my resignation to the MAO Board of Directors.”

Randle said his resignation was voluntary and had not been requested by the board of Miss America, which is based in Atlantic City.

Haskell wrote in a statement issued Friday night, obtained by The Associated Press.

“My mistake is a mistake of words,”  “Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable. “The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this nonprofit,” he wrote. “Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen.”

Dan Meyers, who has served as the board’s vice-chair, has stepped into the role of interim chairman and sent this statement below on Saturday:

“This afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Miss America Organization accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Haskell, effective immediately. The Board of Directors also accepted the resignation of Chairman Lynn Weidner.  At the Board’s request, Ms. Weidner has agreed to remain on the Board for up to ninety days to facilitate a smooth transition for the MAO to new leadership.  

The Board thanks Lynn and Sam for many years of tireless work for, and significant financial support to, both the Miss America Organization and thousands of young women who received millions of dollars of educational scholarships from the Organization as a direct result of their efforts.”

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