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Former Miss America (1989) and Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson — who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for $20 million — will now serve as chair of the Miss America Organization board of directors, the organization announced Monday. Huffington Post was the first to report Carlson’s new position.
Carlson is joining the organization amid a recent controversy of leaked internal emails from Miss America leaders, including now-former CEO Sam Haskell, which crudely discussed the appearances of women who had competed in the pageant with demeaning and misogynistic language. Carlson confirmed Huffington Post’s report of her new position and tweeted, “Honored to move this iconic program forward with so many amazing volunteers.”
“Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program. In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future,” said Carlson in a statement from the Miss America Organization.
The Miss America Organization also announced former Miss Americas Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss (Miss America 2012), Heather French Henry (Miss America 200) and Kate Shindle (Miss America 1998) are joining the board. The group recently told the Associated Press they were seeking the help of former Miss Americas and state directors to recommend the next generation of leaders for the pageant.
A statement from the group also noted that that Carlson will “work with all Miss America stakeholders, including the organization’s state executive directors and former state titleholders, to continue an ongoing inclusive and transparent process to identify additional new board members and management.”
After Haskell’s resignation last week, president and COO Josh Randle and chairman Lynn Weidner also resigned after being revealed to have also exchanged the demeaning emails among the board members.
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