Miss America has been stripped of its television broadcast crown.
Dick Clark Productions has ended its relationship with the organization after leaked emails sent by CEO Sam Haskell showed him mocking the looks, intelligence and sex lives of the pageant’s past winners.
The production agency, which has worked on the nationally televised broadcast since 2014 and held two board seats within the company, told the Associated Press it was made aware of the slanderous emails several months ago.
“We were appalled by their unacceptable content and insisted, in the strongest possible terms, that the Miss America Organization board of directors conduct a comprehensive investigation and take appropriate action to address the situation,” the company said in a statement, PEOPLE reports. “Shortly thereafter, we resigned our board positions and notified MAO that we were terminating our relationship with them.”
The Huffington Post published an exposé on Haskell Thursday after reviewing nearly three years of his internal email messages, which were provided by two sources.
The emails included fat-shaming comments about former Miss America Mallory Hagan, writing, “OMG she is huge and gross.” He also wrote lewd comments about Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and board of directions member, and issued a death wish for former queen Kate Shindle, who previously spoke out about his massive payouts from the organization.
One employee who was involved in the emails, which referred to past pageant winners using slang terms for female genitalia, was fired by the company when the Miss America Organization was first made aware of the messages, a spokesperson told Huffington Post.
“The Miss America Organization Board of Directors was notified about the concern of inappropriate language in email communications several months ago. Consequently, the organization’s Board of Directors took the allegations of inappropriate comments very seriously and formed an investigative committee,” the spokesperson said. “As a result of the investigation, the Board directed the organization terminate the relationship with most egregious author of inappropriate comments. In addition, the Board has started the process of instituting additional policies and procedures for communication.”
Haskell has not been removed from the organization, but the company released a statement Thursday acknowledging he had apologized to the board for his actions. He has been a member of the organization since 2005.0comments
The organization said the emails “contain inappropriate language that is unbecoming at best and is not, in any way, indicative of the character and integrity of MAO or its representatives. Please note that MAO does not condone the use of inappropriate language and apologizes for this situation. The Board of Directors took the allegations very seriously, investigated them, and considers the matter closed.”
The pageant, which is normally hosted the week after Labor Day each year, must now look for a new partner to air its live broadcast of the national competition.