Gretchen Carlson Fires Back at Miss America Accuser: ‘I Have Never Bullied or Silenced’ You

Carlson is the current chairwoman of the Miss America Organization board of directors

Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News host and current chairwoman of the Miss America Organization board of directors, has denied accusations by 2018 Miss America, Cara Mund, that she had been “controlled,” “silenced” and “bullied.”

In a lengthy statement posted on social media Sunday, Carlson wrote that she was “saddened” by Mund’s words and emphasized that she was proud of her and her accomplishments. “I also want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you,” Carlson wrote.

“In fact,” Carlson continued, “I have acknowledged to you and your parents many times that the organization understands the frustration of serving during a change-filled and stressful year. It surely was not what you had expected.”

On Friday, Mund released a letter addressed to her “Miss America Sisters,” saying that the rhetoric that the organization empowers women is not what she has experienced firsthand. She went on to write that she wasn’t comfortable being “controlled, manipulated, silenced, or bullied,” and that the Carlson and the CEO had “systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America.”

Carlson, who was the 1989 Miss America, denied the charges and said Mund’s actions already had consequences.

“$75,000 in scholarships which would have been the first scholarship increase in years, is no longer on the table as a direct result of the explosive allegations in your letter,” Carlson wrote. “The impact won’t stop there – we are already seeing a negative ripple effect across the entire organization, and I am so concerned that it will dilute the experience for the next woman selected to wear the crown.”

Mund’s reign ends on September 9, when Miss America 2019 will be crowned in Atlantic City. Carlson wrote, “We are three weeks away from what should be a historic moment of celebrating the amazing 51 candidates who have chosen to compete for the job of Miss America. We should be celebrating them. Cara, please join us in doing so.”

You can read Carlson’s complete statement below.