With less than a month until the recently revamped Miss America competition kicks off in Atlantic City, past winners are calling on the organization’s thousands of volunteers to give a “vote of no confidence” in the current leadership.
Undersigned by the same 11 former Miss Americas who penned an open letter to addressing the lack of transparency with the organization’s recent changes, the online petition created Monday night furthers the message that those closest involved with Miss America are concerned with the recent changes to the nearly 100-year-old pageant.
ABSECON — When Miss America Cara Mund arrived at her latest South Jersey appearance Thursday…
“Miss America is engaged in a great struggle about its identity and its future direction. We did not choose this struggle” the petition says. “It began because our past leaders demeaned women, breached their trust, harmed our brand, and needed to be removed. It was their actions alone that required a change in leadership. We made that change with the hope of creating unity and stability for our beloved organization.”
The Miss America Organization underwent a massive leadership change earlier this year, after a series of emails between former CEO Sam Haskell and board members using vulgar and disparaging language to describe past contestants’ weight sexual history and post-pageant careers were leaked. An online petition calling for Haskell and the entire MAO board of directors was signed by more than 18,000 supporters.
In January, former Fox News anchor and Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson was selected as Chair of the Board of Trustees. At the beginning of the year, the nine-member board of trustees consisted of former Miss Americas, state titleholders and state executive directors. But several resignations have occurred as tensions arose between organization stakeholders and leadership.
By Tuesday afternoon, the “Miss America Needs You!” petition on Change.org garnered more than 2,500 signatures.