It seems the behind-the-scenes action at beauty pageants can get ugly.
Miss America lost its major TV partner after the publication of emails showing vulgar name-calling and demeaning remarks by the pageant’s top leadership–including CEO Sam Haskell.
The Huffington Post on Thursday reported on Haskell’s correspondence, in which he and associates spoke crudely about former Miss Americas.
The news prompted Dick Clark Productions to part ways with the Miss America pageant. Since 2014, Dick Clark Productions has covered the costs of the telecast and paid the Miss America Organization a fee for the broadcast rights.
In one email conversation, Haskell contacted lead Miss America writer Lewis Friedman about the decision to call previous pageant winners “Former Miss Americas” rather than “Forever Miss Americas.”
Friedman replied, “I’d already changed ‘Forevers’ to ‘C****.’ Does that work for you?”
Haskell wrote back “Perfect…bahahaha.”
Haskell has been credited with reviving the Miss America pageant. Under his leadership, the competition got a slot on broadcast television and returned to its home venue of Atlantic City. It was Haskell who spearheaded the deal with Dick Clark Productions, under which the production company was given two seats on the Miss America Organization’s board of directors.
The emails revealed that Haskell and other members of the board considered several former Miss Americas to be “malcontents.”
Board member Tammy Haddad wrote to Haskell, saying some former pageant winners are a “pile of malcontents and has beens who blame the program for not getting them where they think they can go.”
Haddad added “80% of the winners do not have the class, smarts and model for success,” and went on to tell Haskell:
“YOU have to let them go. You don’t need them. They need you. We also have to punish them when they don’t appreciate what we do for them.”
Haskell allegedly was upset with former Miss America Kate Shindle, who published a book where she questioned the CEO’s $500,000 salary.
When Friedman wrote to Haskell offering condolences upon the death of former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, he used the subject line “It should have been Kate Shindle.”
Haskell replied, “Thanks so much Coach…even in my sadness you can make me laugh.”
Another person about whom Haskell vented was fellow board member and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson.
The popular TV personality refused to attack Shindle following the publication of her book, leading Haddad to write to Haskell: “Snake, but now u have no doubts as to her loyalty. Makes it easy not to respond. Right?”
Carlson later resigned from the board after feeling her integrity had been maligned.
Upon the release of Haskell’s emails, Carlson said she was “saddened by the disgusting statements about women.”
“As a proud former Miss America and former member of the Board of the Miss America Organization, I am shocked and deeply saddened by the disgusting statements about women attributed to the leadership of the MAO. No woman should be demeaned with such vulgar slurs.” #ResignNow https://t.co/2nWvl45vQo
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) December 22, 2017
Haskell also took issue with former Miss America Mallory Hagan. The Miss America head reportedly wanted his aide, Brent Adams, to date his daughter. But Adams was in a relationship with Hagan.
The conflict allegedly motivated Haskell to blacklist Hagan and take other measures limiting her work opportunities with Miss America contestants.
In an email, Haskell derided Hagan for her weight-gain, writing “OMG she is huge…and gross…why does he want that?????”
Dick Clark Productions explained its decision to cut ties with the Miss America Organization:
“Several months ago, Dick Clark Productions was made aware of a portion of the emails that were referenced in the December 21 Huffington Post article. We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization (MAO) board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation.
“Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.”
The revelations show that even at lavish beauty pageants, things aren’t always as glamorous as they appear.