Miss America CEO resigns over email scandal

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Hours after the 49 women released their letter, the Miss America Organization announced that its board of directors had voted to suspend Haskell while it conducted an "in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications".

Haskell said in a statement Friday that he would abide by the suspension, but denounced the Huffington Post article that revealed the internal emails as "unkind and untrue".

The president, Josh Randle, told The Associated Press his comment responding to an email to his private account about the physical appearance of 2013 victor Mallory Hagan came months before he started working for the Miss America Organization in 2015.

The top leadership of the Miss America Organization, implicated in an email scandal that targeted past pageant winners for abuse based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives, resigned on Saturday, with the outgoing president apologizing to a victor whose weight he ridiculed.

The top leadership of the Miss America Organization has resigned, sweeping out officials implicated in the email scandal.

CEO Sam Haskell resigned from the Atlantic City, New Jersey-based organization on Saturday, a day after he was suspended by the board.

"I am proud to stand with them", Gracen wrote on her Facebook account.

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The organization's outgoing president has apologized to Hagan, whose weight he and others ridiculed in an email exchange.

His resignation is effective immediately, while Mr Randle and Ms Weidner will remain for a few weeks to help with the leadership transition.

A writer with the 2014 pageant also suggested calling former Miss Americas "cunts"; Haskell responded to the email by writing, "Perfect. bahahaha".

Dick Clark Productions told the AP news agency it had cut its ties with the organisation after the emails' publication, saying it found their content "appalling".

"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", Meyers said in the statement.

Dozens of former Miss Americas, including a 87-year-old crowned in 1948 and a former Fox News host, had signed an open letter demanding the resignations of the organization's CEO, president and board chair.

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