National News

Miss America Appoints Women to Top Positions, Months After Email Scandal

Posted May 17, 2018 11:39 p.m. EDT

Five months after emails attacking and mocking former pageant winners led to the ouster of the Miss America Organization’s leaders, women have taken the helm there.

Effective immediately, Regina Hopper and Marjorie Vincent-Tripp have been appointed to its highest ranks, the Miss America Organization and Foundation announced Thursday. In January, Gretchen Carlson was named chairwoman of the board of trustees.

Hopper, who was Miss Arkansas 1983 and a correspondent for CBS News, will act as the chief executive and president of the Miss America Organization — replacing both Sam Haskell, the former chief executive, and Josh Randle, the former president.

Vincent-Tripp, Miss America 1991 and currently an assistant attorney general in Florida, will replace Lynn Weidner as the chairwoman of the Miss America Foundation.

Carlson — a journalist and author who was Miss America 1989 — previously served on the board of the Miss America Organization. In 2016, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the longtime leader of Fox News, that led to his being forced out.

“The induction of this all-female leadership team signals forthcoming transformational changes to the entire organization and program, ushering in a new era of progressiveness, inclusiveness and empowerment,” the Miss America Organization and the Miss America Foundation said in a joint news release Thursday.

The emails, published by HuffPost in December, revealed that Haskell had made disrespectful and misogynistic comments about former pageant winners, with support, in some cases, from other members of the organization.

In emails that were exchanged around 2013 and 2014, Haskell expressed amusement when an employee used a vulgar reference to female genitalia to describe the former pageant winners. The exchanges indicated that Haskell had privately shamed one former pageant winner, Mallory Hagan, over her weight and sex life.

After the emails were leaked, Haskell stepped down immediately. Randle and Weidner also resigned, but remained in their roles for several weeks to “facilitate a smooth transition,” a spokesman said at the time.

The emails also caused the pageant to lose a major broadcast partner, Dick Clark Productions.

In the news release, Hopper said: “We all care deeply about this program and, as we move toward the 100th anniversary, are working toward a renewed relevancy for the program.”

Relevancy has been an issue for the Miss America pageant lately. Once an annual must-see television event, the program has been dropping steadily in the ratings in recent years — down 13 percent from 2015 to 2016.