A Former Winner Is Now Going To Lead The Miss America Organization

Astrid Stawiarz  Getty
Gretchen Carlson

Astrid Stawiarz Getty Gretchen Carlson

To right the ship, the organization is turning to a number of former Miss America winners, including 1989 victor Carlson, who became a prominent voice against workplace sexual harassment after suing the parent company of her former employer, Fox News.

The organziation said TV personality Gretchen Carlson, who was Miss America 1989, will serve as its new chairman.

Carlson was named to the position alongside three other former Miss America winners joining the board including Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss who won in 2012, Heather French Henry who won in 2000 and Kate Shindle who won in 1998, The New York Times reported.

Shindle, now a stage performer and union leader, had demanded the resignation of the organization's board and top executives after the publication of offensive emails from former CEO Sam Haskell.

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In a 2014 email, Haskell asked Carlson and others to push back against a book written by a former Miss America victor that painted him in a bad light. Carlson added that she and her fellow new board members would continue the "inclusive and transparent process" of appointing new leaders to the organization, and would work with the organization's sponsors to create "a viable, forward-looking Miss America Organization for this and future generations of young women".

Three other past Miss Americas have also been announced to join the board.

Carlson is no stranger to facing harassment head-on - in 2016, she sued late Fox CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, claiming he destroyed her career after she turned down his sexual advances.

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CEO Sam Haskell resigned from the company on December 23, in addition to former chair Lynn Weidner and Tammy Haddad, a member.

Jan 2, 2018 Gretchen Carlson, the new Miss America board chair, speaking at a TED event in November.

As part of the new leadership structure, most of the now serving directors have resigned from the board.

Board member Tammy Haddad and former scriptwriter Lewis Friedman also made eyebrow-raising comments over email. All had exchanged demeaning emails among board members.

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