Former Miss America Gretchen Carlson is new chairman after scandal


Gretchen Carlson is the first former winner to lead the Miss America beauty pageant organisation following a scandal over lewd and sexist e-mails.
Gretchen Carlson is the first former winner to lead the Miss America beauty pageant organisation following a scandal over lewd and sexist e-mails.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has been named the new chairman of the Miss America beauty pageant, becoming the first former winner to lead the organisation following a scandal over lewd and sexist e-mails.

Her appointment came just over a week after the resignation of the pageant's under-fire chief executive Sam Haskell, who had written some of the e-mails.

"Honoured to move this iconic programme forward with so many amazing volunteers," the 51-year-old Carlson, who won the competition in 1989, wrote on Twitter.

The organisation added that three other former winners would join the board of directors.

Dozens of former beauty queens had demanded that Mr Haskell step down after The Huffington Post published leaked internal e-mails that included a vulgarity to refer to past winners and the shaming of one over her weight and sex life, with Mr Haskell calling her "a piece of trash".

The scandal prompted the show's producers, Dick Clark Productions, to sever ties with the organisation.

Carlson - who is best known for her decade-long tenure as an anchor at Fox News - made headlines in 2016 when she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network's then boss Roger Ailes, precipitating his departure.

 
 

Commenting on the scandal, Carlson said: "Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this programme.

"In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilising the organisation for the future."