Miss America CEO Sam Haskell was suspended just one day after HuffPost published a series of internal emails showing him making disparaging and vile comments on the appearances of Miss America contestants.
“The Miss America Organization Board of Directors today voted to suspend Executive Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell. Mr. Haskell, in support of the organization, has agreed to abide by the Board’s decision,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. “The Board will be conducting an in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications and the nature in which they were obtained. In addition, the Board wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the education and empowerment of young women, supporting them in every way possible.”
In the emails reported by HuffPost, Haskell jokes about renaming former Miss America winners, currently labeled by the organization as “Forever Miss Americas, “C—s” and calls former winners a “pile of malcontents and has beens who blame the program for not getting them where they think they can go.”
In December of 2014, Lewis Friedman, lead writer for the Miss America telecast, emailed Haskell to offer his condolences on the death of former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley.
The subject line of Friedman’s email read: “It should have been Kate Shindle.”
Haskell replied, “Thanks so much Coach…even in my sadness you can make me laugh…how was the Kennedy Center Honors? Love you and appreciate you! Sam.”
Shindle is a former 1998 Miss America winner, now an actress and singer. She responded to the emails on Twitter writing Haskell’s behavior made her “physically ill.”
Haskell has called the claims “unkind and untrue.”
— kate shindle (@kateshindle) December 22, 2017
Misogyny among men in the pageant industry is recently being reported as widespread, reaching even the President of the United States. President Donald Trump, a former Miss USA and Miss Universe owner, as been accused of sexual misconduct by former contestants.
One former Miss USA contestant has alleged Trump used to frequently walk in on contestants while they were changing. Trump even bragged out it in an interview with Howard Stern in 2005 saying, “Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it.”