Miss America Org Offers Second Apology for MeToo Joke

“As a male survivor of sexual assault, it was never my intention to insult or malign a movement”

A local chapter of the Miss America pageant offered a second apology on Monday after an emcee made a MeToo joke during the final round of the Miss Massachusetts event on June 30.

“I would like to set the record straight about the skit during the Miss Massachusetts finals. First and most importantly, my sincere apologies to those who drew any parallels between a joke about the swimsuit competition and sexual assault,” said Rich Allegretto.

“The skit was meant as a satirical poke at those who are upset that swimsuit is going away. It was intended to be a nod to the #MeToo movement, not a knock on it.”

Dear Contestants and Families, I would like to set the record straight about the skit during the Miss Massachusetts…

Posted by Miss Massachusetts MAO on Monday, July 9, 2018

Allegretto then said he is a sexual assault survivor. “As a male survivor of sexual assault, it was never my intention to insult or malign a movement that has done so much good for so many of us,” he said.

While it is apparent from his statement that Allegretto is the emcee who made the widely criticized joke, the pageant did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request to confirm it.

The personal apology from Allegretto, posted to the Miss Massachusetts Facebook page, is the second act of contrition from the organization, which posted an early apology on July 3.

“The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night’s skit,” it read. “Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed.”

The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday…

Posted by Miss Massachusetts MAO on Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The video — first obtained and published by the New York Observer — shows what was supposed to be a humorous skit of a woman asking God why the Miss America pageant would no longer be have the swimsuit competition.

“We may have well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting and I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.”

“Me too, Amy,” said the man, who also held a sign reading #MeToo just in case anyone didn’t get the joke.

Nixing the swimsuit event was the most high profile of several changes coming to the pageant this year, as a result of MeToo activism. The news was first announced by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, an advocate for victims of sexual harassment, earlier this year. Carlson, a former Miss America winner, is currently serving as chairwoman of the pageant board.

The Massachusetts video shows the joke met with loud cheers in the audience, but recriminations hit the pageant almost immediately.

Maude Gorman, a local Miss Plymouth County, who was at the event told the Boston Globe she was disgusted by what she saw and drafted her resignation letter that same evening.

“It was heartbreaking to hear,” Gorman told the paper. “In that moment, everything collapsed right in front of me.”