Oh no! Vanessa Williams and the Miss America Organization have reportedly hit a snag in their plans to reunite at this year’s pageant after executives refused to publicly apologize for forcing her to resign in 1983. Does this mean she won’t receive her new crown, after all?
After announcing on Sept. 7 that Vanessa Williams, 52, would serve as the head judge of the 2015 Miss America pageant on Sept. 13, the show’s executives are now going toe-to-toe (again!) with the ex-beauty queen over her 1984 nude photo scandal. Vanessa reportedly agreed to return to the pageant if and only if she would receive a public apology from the organization for forcing her to resign back in 1984, but now that’s looking as if it may not happen.
The drama apparently unfolded on Sept. 9, when executives from the Miss America Organization held a meeting demanding that Vanessa apologize for her 1984 nude photo scandal at the beginning of this year’s show, which is being held in Atlantic City on Sept. 13. The problem? According to TMZ, the former pageant winner only ever agreed to return to the show as a judge if she was offered an apology by a Miss America official for forcing her to resign thirty-two years ago before being presented with a new crown. Now, with neither side wanting to be the one to say sorry, negotiations on how exactly the scene will play out are said to be “at an impasse,” though it would seem likely that Vanessa’s team has the upper hand, given that the organization has been running non-stop promos touting her long-awaited return.
For those who don’t know, Vanessa became the first ever African-American to win Miss America in 1983. However, ten months after her win, nude photos of Vanessa were published in the Sept. 1984 issue of Penthouse magazine. These pictures were from 1982, a year before she won the beauty competition, and were sold to the magazine without her consent. Vanessa resigned as Miss America because of the scandal, but she was surprisingly allowed to keep her crown. After more than three decades, it seemed as if Vanessa was finally going to be welcomed back with open arms, but now we’re not so sure.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Vanessa said that the scandal haunted her for many years. Vanessa in Penthouse and Vanessa as Miss America were “two drastically different images. That was the issue. It was Miss America, who’s really kind of untouched in that reality.”
Should these two parties get everything squared away — and we certainly hope that they do — Vanessa will join fellow judges Brett Eldredge, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Taya Kyle, Amy Purdy and Zendaya when the show broadcasts on ABC on Sept. 13.
What do you think HollywoodLifers — Should Miss America apologize to Vanessa, or are they the ones who deserve the apology? Sound off below!
— Alyssa Montemurro