Dick clark productions has split from its partner the Miss America Organization after learning about offensive emails CEO Sam Haskell sent regarding past pageant winners, which were featured in a Huffington Post expose on Dec. 21.
“Several months ago, dick clark productions was made aware of a portion of the emails that were referenced in the December 21 Huffington Post article,” a spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap. “We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization (MAO) board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation. Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.”
The emails included comments about 28-year-old Mallory Hagan, who won the pageant in 2013. Haskell made crass jokes about Hagan’s weight and how many men he thought Hagan had slept with.
On Friday, Hagan told the “Today” show she became close with Haskell and his family. But that didn’t stop the top exec from writing, “OMG she is huge,” and adding that Hagan was “gross” in an email obtained by Huffington Post.
“When I first read the emails in the article, I wasn’t shocked, but I was validated,” Hagan told “Today.” “I mean, for the longest time I tried to explain to people around me that this is happening or that these things are being said and to have the ability to look on paper and say ‘see, I told you.’”
Haskell didn’t just mock Hagan’s weight, according to the HuffPo report. In a separate email thread, lead Miss America writer Lewis Friedman asked Haskell about Hagan’s sex life, “Ps. Are we four the only ones not to have f–ed Mallory?”
Haskell replied: “It appears we are the only ones!”
She told “Today” she had a feeling something was happening behind the scenes before the emails came to light.
“The story that broke [on Thursday] is one that is extremely difficult to relive,” said Hagan. “I’ve felt very strongly about these things over the last couple of years and just didn’t have any way to prove that they were happening so now that I have proof that they happened this feels pretty validating.”
Haskell and Friedman ridiculed other pageant participants as well, with Friedman referring to former contestants as “c—s,” which Haskell said was “Perfect…bahahaha.”
Despite the crass remarks and negative publicity, Hagan said she wanted Miss America to continue.
“In no way would I ever want to see this program or organization ever go away,” said Hagan. “I hope this 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.”
ABC, which is set to air the next Miss America pageant in September 2018, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.