07:44 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Sam Haskell

    ‘Misogynistic Leadership’: Miss America Suspends Male CEO

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    On Friday, the Miss America Organization suspended its chief executive officer, Sam Haskell, less than 24 hours after leaked emails obtained by the Huffington Post revealed that the man had insulted the appearance, intellect and sex lives of former Miss America contestants.

    Following the leaks, Haskell claimed that the accusations were "unkind and untrue," but agreed to quietly abide by an indefinite suspension while beauty pageant the board investigates the case. 

    In a Friday statement, Haskell offered a unique non-apology, writing: "My mistake is a mistake of words. Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive and despicable."

    "The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this non-profit," he added.

    "Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen," claimed the former William Morris Agency executive, who boasts of many high-profile clients, including the notorious Bill Cosby, who is accused of raping multiple women after drugging them.

    The author of the Huffington Post article, Yashar Ali, asserts that his story is accurate and based on emails obtained from two sources "who felt that Mr. Haskell's behavior was egregious." Ali stated that he plans to make the email public in a separate article.

    In a statement, the Miss America Organization board announced that it "will be conducting an in-depth investigation into the alleged inappropriate communication and the nature in which they were obtained." 

    The beauty pageant statement came just hours after 49 former Miss America winners signed a petition calling for the resignation of Haskell, and other pageant officials. Over 1,600 state and local title-holders, contestants and pageant volunteers also signed the petition.

    Haskell's emails allegedly use vulgar slang referring to female genitalia to describe Miss America winners, as well as wishing death upon a past winner and including estimations of how many sex partners a former Miss America has had.

    Several of the emails refer to 2013 pageant winner Mallory Hagan, speculating how many sex partners Hagan has had, and gleefully observing that she has gained weight since her victory.

    "My hope is that this story that broke will bring light to the type of behavior that's been in leadership of the Miss America Organization and really help us put in place some people who care and who embody the mission of Miss America," 2013 pageant winner Hagan noted in a Twitter video. "Having somebody bully you, demean you, degrade you in any way is not OK."

    Haskell has claimed that he was verbally attacked for a year by two former Miss Americas.

    Seeking to redirect personal responsibility away from himself by pointing to emails that were "sent to me," the 62-year-old father of two claimed that "[It] impaired my judgment when responding to the inappropriate emails sent to me about them."

    "I have the utmost respect for the women of this program and contestants at every level. It breaks my heart for anyone to think otherwise," he asserted.

    Betty Cantrell, 2016 Miss America, also signed the petition, telling the Associated Press that she "lived under this misogynistic leadership for a year of my life."

    "I'm definitely glad to see all of this evidence come into the light," she stated.

    On Friday, the Nevada Casino Reinvestment Development Authority began reviewing its contract with the Miss America Organization after multiple local and state officials urged for the high-profit production deal between the two entities to be terminated.


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