Miss America CEO Sam Haskell Resigns Following Email Leak

Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions

Earlier today, Dick Clark Productions took steps to distance themselves from Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell, announcing its decision to end its relationship with MAO’s annual televised pageant. Now, the Miss America Organization has followed suit, suspending Haskell in the wake of a Huffington Post report revealing sexist emails the CEO sent about former Miss America contestants. “The Miss America Organization Board of Directors today voted to suspend Executive Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell. Mr. Haskell, in support of the organization, has agreed to abide by the Board’s decision,” the nonprofit’s leadership said in a statement published by Variety. “The Board will be conducting an in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications and the nature in which they were obtained. In addition, the Board wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the education and empowerment of young women, supporting them in every way possible.”

After HuffPo’s report was published Thursday, 49 former Miss America winners signed their names to an open letter calling for the resignation of Haskell, as well as other MAO executives Josh Randle, Tammy Haddad, and Lynn Weidner, citing the impact of the executives’ “despicable” behavior. In his own statement, Haskell says the content of the emails did not reflect his actual sentiments, but rather was the lashing out of a man frustrated by public criticism. “This was not the CEO of an Organization laughing at inappropriate jokes and speaking about a former Miss America in email conversations,” he claims. “This was a father whose family was being attacked, and a man whose character was being assassinated daily, which impaired my judgment when responding to the inappropriate emails sent to me about them. For that, I deeply apologize.”

Update, December 23: Haskell has resigned from his position at the Miss America Organization, as has Josh Randle — the president and COO of the organization — and board chair Lynn Weidner, who was the sender of the controversial emails. A statement issued to the Huffington Post confirmed the resignations. “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,” a part of the statement said. “The Board thanks Lynn and Sam for many years of tireless work for, and significant financial support to, both the Miss America Organization and thousands of young women who received millions of dollars of educational scholarships from the Organization as a direct result of their efforts.”

Miss America CEO Sam Haskell Resigns Following Email Leak