Gretchen Carlson will step in as Miss America board chair

By Rachel DeSantis
New York Daily News
January 02. 2018 9:31PM

Former Miss America Gretchen Carlson attends the TIME 100 Gala on April 25, 2017 at Frederick P Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. (Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Sipa USA/TNS) 

Gretchen Carlson has been appointed chair of the Miss America Organization Board of Directors, just one month after the organization was rocked by scandal in the form of sexist and derogatory internal emails, some of which targeted Carlson herself.

The former “Fox & Friends” co-host, who earned the Miss America title herself in 1989, will be the first alum to head the board in its almost 100-year history.

“Honored to move this iconic program forward with so many amazing volunteers,” Carlson tweeted, linking to a story from HuffPost, which first reported the news.

She'll be joined by other new board members who are also former Miss Americas in Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss (2012), Heather French Henry (2000) and Kate Shindle (1998).

“Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program. In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future,” Carlson said in a statement to HuffPost.

The ex-beauty queen, 51, will fill the spot left vacant by former chairwoman Lynn Weidner, who resigned last month along with CEO and executive chairman Sam Haskell, among others.

The massive exodus of leadership was sparked by a series of expletive-laced emails obtained by HuffPost in which Haskell slut-shamed and name-called Miss America contestants, crudely referring to them with vulgarities.

Haskell specifically targeted Carlson, who had previously questioned his methods of leadership.

In a 2014 email, Haskell asked Carlson and others to push back against a book written by a former Miss America winner that painted him in a bad light.

Carlson reprimanded him for the request, to which he called her a “snake” and expressed glee in causing her emotional distress.

Shindle was also the subject of a nasty Haskell email in which he joked that he wished she would die.

Carlson is no stranger to facing harassment head-on — in 2016, she sued late Fox CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, claiming he destroyed her career after she turned down his sexual advances.

Her lawsuit — in which she won a $20 million settlement — sparked several other accusations of sexual harassment against Ailes, including one from Megyn Kelly, and eventually led to Ailes leaving the network.


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