Miss America leadership resigns in email shaming scandal

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Lynn Weidner, chairman of the 96-year-old organization's board, also resigned but will remain on the board up to 90 days to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, Meyers said.

The writer responded by questioning whether he and Haskell were part of a tiny group of people who had not had sex with Hagan.

In the emails reported by HuffPost, Haskell jokes about renaming former Miss America winners "C-s" and calls the past winners a "pile of malcontent", among other misogynistic and fat-shaming claims.

"The leaders of this organization cannot degrade the values that Miss America represents", Shields wrote. One email referred to former Miss USAs as "c**ts".

Among the comments included in the report was a reference to former Miss Americas using a vulgar term for female genitalia that Haskell indicated he found to be amusing.

Haskell's resignation came one day after the Miss American Organization suspended him indefinitely while the board conducted "an in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications and the nature in which they were obtained".

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The top leadership of the Miss America Organization has resigned, sweeping out officials implicated in an email scandal that targeted past pageant winners for abuse based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives.

"This afternoon, the board of directors of the Miss America Organization accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Haskell, effective immediately", Dan Meyers, interim chairman of the board, said in a statement.

Haskell said in a statement Friday that he would abide by the suspension, but denounced the Huffington Post article that revealed the internal emails as "unkind and untrue".

Elizabeth Gracen, an Arkansan who won the competition in 1982, also signed her name to petition.

Dick Clark Productions told the AP news agency it had cut its ties with the organisation after the emails' publication, saying it found their content "appalling".

With the exception of a stay in Las Vegas from 2006 to 2013, the Miss America Pageant has been a staple of Atlantic City, N.J., for decades with the traditional "Show Us Your Shoes" parade along the boardwalk where contestants show footwear representative of their states.