Ridiculed former Miss America calls board offer 'laughable'

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A former Miss America whose appearance and sex life was ridiculed in emails sent by officials of the Miss America Organization says the group's request to enlist former pageant winners in the search for new leaders is "laughable" and insulting.

Mallory Hagan told The Associated Press on Thursday that the offer made Wednesday night by the remaining members of the group's board is insulting to anyone who ever competed or volunteered in the pageant.

She and other former Miss Americas are renewing their call for the entire board to step down. The CEO, president and board chairman resigned Saturday.

"The statement from the remaining Miss America Board of Directors is an insult to every Miss America and volunteer's intelligence," she said. "Implying that the complicit members of the current board will now choose the new leadership for the forward movement of the Miss America Organization is laughable.

"I will not stop until Miss America is led by the people who embody the morals and values that the organization holds dear," Hagan said. "Whether they knew about these emails or not only confirms their inability to effectively lead this multi-million dollar nonprofit. If they truly care about the forward movement of the MAO, they should all step aside. Period."

Hagan started a petition Wednesday on change.org seeking the removal of all remaining Miss America board members that had garnered thousands of signatures within 24 hours.

The board said Wednesday it wants former Miss Americas and state directors to help in the search for new leadership, asking the groups to nominate four people to serve on a search committee that also will include two board members and a person the board members appoint.

That offer drew widespread opposition from former Miss Americas and state title winners as soon as word of it circulated.

The board was hoping for nominations for the search committee by Jan. 3, but it was not immediately clear what would happen if the former winners do not participate.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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