Maude Gorman, who was competing as Miss Plymouth County 2018, was backstage at the Miss Massachusetts pageant earlier this month when the joke was made: As a woman pretended to pray onstage as part of a comedy sketch, telling God she wanted to understand why the Miss America pageant did away with the swimsuit competition, a man dressed as God and holding a #MeToo sign replied, "Me too, Amy." After the Observer posted a clip of the skit last week, Gorman told the paper and announced on Instagram that she was turning in her Miss Plymouth County crown. Gorman, a survivor of a gang rape when she was 13 years old, tells CNN that keeping the title would have gone "against everything I have worked hard for. I was Miss Massachusetts World in 2015. I saw myself as a leader in the community and made appearances to speak out about sexual assault and tell my story."
Gorman said on Instagram that she's grateful for the opportunities the Miss America organization creates for women, but she can't just "let this go." "Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement," she writes. "I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation." In an interview with NBC Boston, she says she felt "betrayed" by the competition. She says she's done with the pageant world forever, and is planning a college tour to speak out on sexual assault. The Miss Massachusetts competition, a preliminary stage of the Miss America competition, says the skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the organization. "The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology," it says in a statement. Per WBUR, it was the host of the competition that performed as the woman praying in the skit. (Read more beauty pageant stories.)