Four contestants in this year's Mrs. America pageant want CEO and co-founder David Marmel to apologize for racially charged comments he allegedly made at a party before the competition. The women say Marmel, who is white, joined a table with four black contestants and told them "black women need to stop having babies with four baby daddies and all black men are in jail because they need to stop selling drugs and killing each other." They say Marmel bragged about what he had done for black people, including creating the Black Achievement Awards, but also repeatedly used the N-word when discussing his contacts at Ebony magazine and his experiences as a baseball player in the South, the AP reports.
Three of the women who were at the table— Kimberly Phillips, Brandy Palacios, and Crissy Timpson —appeared at a press conference Monday along with attorney Gloria Allred and Jeri Ward, a white contestant who was seated nearby and heard Marmel's remarks. Allred said the women are not planning to sue, but they want Marmel to apologize and undergo sensitivity training "so that what they allege they were subjected to never happens again," the Guardian reports. Marmel rejects the allegations, saying the woman are totally misrepresenting their "off the record" conversation. He tells NBC that the allegations are "ugly" and "false" and he thinks he might be the victim of "reverse racism." (Read more beauty pageant stories.)