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Miss America crowns former winner Gretchen Carlson as chairwoman

Miss America crowns former winner Gretchen Carlson as chairwoman

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Miss America crowns former winner Gretchen Carlson as chairwoman
As it tries to forget email scandal.


Miss America has chosen a former winner to chair its board of directors for the first time, following a scandal over leaked emails that revealed how its chief executive ridiculed the intellect and sex lives of competitors.

It comes at a time when the #metoo movement is forcing a re-examination of how women are treated in the work place and in public life.
Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America, was named chairwoman on Monday - despite previously raising concerns about tokenism - while three other previous winners will also serve on the board.

The selection of Ms Carlson marks the first time a former pageant winner has served as the leader of the nearly 100-year-old organisation.

She has been among women fighting back against alleged workplace harassment and in 2016 sued Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief, in a case that ultimately forced him from the network.

“Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this programme," she said in a statement issued by the Miss America Organisation.

"In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilising the organisation for the future."

The organisation also announced the appointments of three other past Miss Americas: 2012 winner Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, 2000 winner Heather French Henry and Kate Shindle, who won in 1998 and now serves as president of the Actors' Equity Association. Their appointments take effect immediately, as does Ms Carlson's.

It comes less than two weeks after leaked emails surfaced showing Sam Haskell, the chief executive, and others disparaging the appearance, intellect and sex lives of former Miss Americas.

One email used a vulgar term for female genitalia to refer to past Miss America winners, another included a wish that a particular former Miss America had died and others speculated about the number of sex partners former Miss America Mallory Hagan has had.

Mr Haskell resigned on 23 December, along with two other senior officials.  The scandal also cost the pageant its television production partner and raised questions about the future of the nationally televised broadcast from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Ms Carlson said she and the new board would immediately work with all Miss America stakeholders, including the organisation's state executive directors and former state titleholders, "to continue an ongoing inclusive and transparent process to identify additional new board members and management."

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