Miss America Organization hit with controversy, calls for Gretchen Carlson and current leadership to resign

The Miss America Organization is being rocked by a divide between state pageant officials and former winners over its current leadership.

A petition calling for the resignation of the entire Miss America board, to include Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and President and CEO Regina Hopper, has received signatures from 22 state pageant officials, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

(Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

“As dedicated members of our state and local communities who lend our reputations, financial support and voluntary efforts to facilitate MAO’s long and powerful mission of empowering women to stand up and speak out,” the petition reads, “we find ourselves needing to use our own voices of leadership to express our profound disappointment regarding what, in our view, is the failed leadership of the entire MAO Board of Trustees.”

In a countering effort, a letter signed by 30 former Miss Americas, said they “fully support” Carlson and the current leadership, who “have been working tirelessly to move our program forward,” The Press reported.

Carlson, the former Fox News host who received a $20 million settlement for her sexual harassment lawsuit against former network chief Roger Ailes, announced last month on “Good Morning America” that the pageant will no longer feature the swimsuit portion,  opting to be more inclusive to contestants of “all shapes and sizes.”

(Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions)

“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance,” she said.

Carlson said contestant will now be judged on “what comes out of their mouth.”

“We’re no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire, their evening wear, whatever they choose to do,” she said. “It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in, when they talk about their social impact initiatives.”

But then, if viewers want to hear from social justice warriors they can just tune into MSNBC.

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