New Head of Miss America Board: Gretchen Carlson

She'll be first former pageant winner to serve as group's leader
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2018 5:00 PM CST
New Head of Miss America Board: Gretchen Carlson
Gretchen Carlson discusses her book "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Back Your Power" at AOL Studios on Oct. 17, 2017, in New York.   (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

New developments in the Miss America scandal that forced out the organization's CEO and other executives after "unacceptable" emails were revealed about past winners. One of the most vocal critics of the pageant's leadership after the revelations was Gretchen Carlson, a past Miss America winner and former Fox News host, and now Carlson is set to assume an important new role: She'll be serving as chairwoman for the Miss America Organization's board of directors, the AP reports. Carlson, who won the title in 1989 as Minnesota's representative, will be the first ex-pageant winner to head up the group, which was established in 1921. Three other past winners (Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, 2012's victor), Heather French Henry (2000), and Kate Shindle (1998) will also take seats on the board, all effective immediately, per HuffPost.

It was HuffPost's Yashar Ali who first revealed in December the internal emails exchanged among ex-CEO Sam Haskell and other board members. The emails referenced Shindle and 2013 winner Mallory Hagan, referencing their appearance, sex lives, and intelligence with what HuffPost calls "misogynistic and inappropriate language." Haskell initially called his correspondence "a mistake of words" and said he wouldn't step down, though he eventually did. Carlson, who tweeted Monday she was "honored" to take the helm, told HuffPost in a statement: "Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program. … We appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future." (One ex-Miss America wants the entire board to step down.)

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