Miss America Pageant Shoots Down 2018 Winner’s ‘Unfounded’ Accusations of Bullying

Miss America 2018 Cara Mund pens letter describing “outright exclusion” from her duties

Last Updated: August 17, 2018 @ 3:43 PM

The Miss America Pageant is firing back after current Miss America Cara Mund chastised the organization for what she said amounted to bullying and silencing her in her duties.

“The Miss America Organization supports Cara,” the organization said in a Friday statement given to TheWrap. “It is disappointing that she chose to air her grievances publicly not privately. Her letter contains mischaracterizations and many unfounded accusations. We are reaching out to her privately to address her concerns.”

In a letter addressed to “Miss America Sisters,” and obtained by news outlets such as USA Today and Philly.com, Mund outlined her experience of “belittlement, and outright exclusion.” She specifically named Miss America CEO Regina Hopper and chair Gretchen Carlson — the former Fox News host who has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement — as perpetrators.

“Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis,” Mund wrote in the five-page letter. “After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive
behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll.”

Mund said leadership required her to name Carlson as a a pioneer of the #MeToo movement, and that she herself was not “important enough” to do big interviews, which were reserved for Carlson. Carlson was Miss America in 1989 and gained media traction after announcing the pageant will not longer hold a swimsuit portion earlier this year.

“Shortly after the new board took over, I was given three talking points that I was required to use at every appearance and on which I would be critiqued,” Mund continued in her letter, naming the alleged talking points:

“Miss America is relevant.
The #MeToo movement started with a Miss America, Gretchen Carlson.
Gretchen Carlson went to Stanford (I was also allowed to mention my own education at Brown University to show that we are both well-educated leaders).”

Among Mund’s complaints, she said organizers told her it was her fault when sponsors dropped the Miss America Organization because, she said, “I am supposedly ‘bad at social media.'” She also said the organization limits what she can post on their social media channels.

“When they shrink my voice in this way, it eliminates my chance to be a spokesperson for my generation on the very platforms where we consume our content,” Mund added, saying her photo has been removed from an official Children’s Miracle Network fundraising page (she is a Make a Wish Foundation advocate) and that official Miss America social channels are “often” utilized to promote Carlson and Hopper’s activities.

Mund’s letter comes just weeks before the next Miss America pageant on Sep. 9 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.