The Miss America Organization’s (MAO) CEO Sam Haskell resigned after leaked emails showed him pass vulgar remarks on pageant contestants for their weight and sex lives.
The organization’s board of directors said Saturday it had accepted his resignation effective immediately.
Chairman Lynn Weidner is also to step down.
The resignation comes after 49 former Miss Americas petitioned MAO demanding the immediate resignation of Haskell as well as other pageant officials who did nothing to stop him.
American news website The Huffington Post on Thursday reported on the private emails which Haskell said were stolen by former MAO employees three years ago.
He said the report was vicious, dishonest, deceptive, despicable, unkind and untrue adding that it was “conveniently edited” and the events “were not as described”. He did not explain what changes were made.
He said the emails were written after he was repeatedly maligned by two Miss America winners over a year. He did not name them.
Mallory Hagan, the 2013 pageant winner who was mocked in some of the emails, said she was not shocked but validated by the release of the emails.
In a 2014 email between Haskell and Lewis Friedman, the lead writer of the pageant’s telecast, Friedman reportedly asked if they were the “only ones not to have” had slept with Hagan.
“It appears we are the only ones!” Haskell wrote, according to Huffington Post.
Haskell also reportedly referred to former contestant Gretchen Carlson as “a snake”.
In another email, a former writer for the pageant, while noting the death of one former Miss America, says he wished 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle, who wrote a book attacking MAO, had died instead. Haskell responded saying the email made him laugh.