Here’s what to know about Sam Haskell, the Miss America CEO who allegedly shamed Mallory Hagan in nasty emails.
1. Miss America CEO Sam Haskell allegedly fat-shamed 2013 Miss America winner Mallory Hagan in an email to other employees. Huffington Post revealed in its expose of alleged internal emails that Sam, 62, was allegedly sent a photo of Mallory, now 28, and three other former Miss Americas by board member Lynn Weidner in Jan. 2015 and allegedly replied, “OMG she is huge…and gross…why does he want that?????” Sam, who has been the CEO of the Miss America Organization since 2015 and spent 26 years working for talent agency William Morris Agency, does not name the man he’s talking about, but the outlet believes he’s referring to employee Brent Adams, who was dating Mallory at the time. Sam then allegedly forwarded the email to Josh Randle, who is now the president of the Miss America Organization, and wrote, “Look at MH in this photo…OMG…Why does he want that?” Mallory was publicly fat-shamed for a bikini photo that surfaced months after she was crowned. Sam never talked about the photo in public.
2. Sam allegedly slut-shamed Mallory Hagan in a separate email to employees. Sam allegedly received an email in 2014 from someone who said Mallory’s New York hairdresser had been talking about her sex life during her time in Los Angeles. He allegedly forwarded the email to Lewis Friedman, the head writer of the pageant telecast. Lewis allegedly replied and ended his email with, “Ps. Are we four the only ones not to have fucked Mallory?” Sam allegedly wrote, “It appears we are the only ones!” He added that someone told the woman he spoke to that “Mallory seduced her son in NY… I told her he needs to have a blood test because we lost count of the number of men she slept with at 25.” In addition, Sam allegedly sent an email to Lewis asking to make a change in referring to the women who were once Miss America. Instead of “Forever Miss Americas,” he wanted to change to “Former Miss Americas.” Lewis allegedly responded, “I’d already changed ‘Forevers’ to ‘C**ts.’ Does that work for you?” Sam allegedly replied, “Perfect…bahahaha.” A Miss America Organization spokesman told Huffington Post that Lewis has been let go after an investigation. Lewis responded via email about his statements: “Before commenting to correct your information and provide context, I’ll speak to my attorney as this matter is the subject of pending litigation.”
3. Sam allegedly tried to get Mallory’s boyfriend at the time to dump her for his daughter. Brent told the outlet that Sam allegedly said to him, “You don’t need a piece of trash like Mallory. You need someone with class and money like my daughter.” Brent also noted that Sam allegedly said “all of this can be yours,” referring to his large mansion and family’s money, if he dated Sam’s daughter, Mary Lane.
4. Gretchen Carlson was allegedly targeted by Sam. The best-selling author of Be Fierce and former FOX & Friends host, 51, who won the Miss America title in 1989, was allegedly asked by Sam not to have Mallory on her program. Gretchen refused Sam’s request. She also refused to defend Sam after 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle published a book questioning why the organization was paying Sam $500,000 when it was in debt. In 2014, Miss America board member Tammy Haddad allegedly emailed Sam and said he should “say it’s a shame that only one Miss America who has come forward to offer help in any way.” Sam allegedly responded, “Brilliant…..f**king Brilliant!!!! That will drive Gretchen INF**KINGSANE.” Gretchen was not a part of the next Miss America broadcast.
Gretchen has released the following statement regarding the email scandal: “As a proud former Miss America and former member of the Board of the Miss America Organization, I am shocked and deeply saddened by the disgusting statements about women attributed to the leadership of the MAO. No woman should be demeaned with such vulgar slurs. As I’ve learned, harassment and shaming of women is never acceptable and should never be tolerated. Every MAO executive and board member who engaged in such crude behavior and signed off on it like it was no big deal should resign immediately. The Miss America Organization, which is tasked to uphold an almost 100 year old tradition of female empowerment and scholarship, deserves better. I hope all former Miss Americas, state and local titleholders and volunteers will join me in a collective effort to fight for the dignity of this great institution.”
5. Mallory slammed Sam in a video after the alleged emails were published by Huffington Post. Mallory posted an emotional Twitter video on Dec. 22 after the alleged emails were published and said, “Having someone bully you, belittle you, demean you, degrade you in any way is not OK, no matter what.” She teared up during her video. She also said that she hopes this “will bring light to the type of behavior that’s been in leadership of the Miss America Organization” and “really help us put in place people who care and embody the mission of Miss America.” Since the alleged emails surfaced, Dick Clark Productions has ended its partnership with the Miss America Organization.
UPDATE: After the jaw-dropping allegations were brought to light, Sam, Josh, COO and president of the organization, and Lynn, board chair, have all reportedly resigned. “This afternoon, the Board of Directors of the Miss America Organization accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Haskell, effective immediately,” the statement on Dec. 23 read. “The Board of Directors also accepted the resignation of Chairman Lynn Weidner. At the Board’s request, Ms. Weidner has agreed to remain on the Board for up to ninety days to facilitate a smooth transition for the MAO to new leadership.” Sam also released a separate statement apologizing for a “mistake of words.”
An MAO spokesperson has released the following statement:
“The Miss America Organization (“MAO”) is committed to upholding the highest standards of character and integrity in all facets of its national framework. Several months ago, MAO’s Board of Directors was notified about the concern of inappropriate language in private email communications regarding various stakeholders. Upon learning of these emails, the Board of Directors acted immediately, forming an investigative committee and retaining independent legal counsel to conduct a full investigation of the matter. The investigator conducted a series of in-depth interviews as well as extensive research that led to several recommendations. Although strictly intended for private communication, these illegally procured 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. The independent investigation also determined that, at the time in question, three to four years ago, Mr. Haskell was under unreasonable distress resulting from intense attacks on his family from disgruntled stakeholders. As a result of the investigation, the Board directed the organization terminate the relationship with the most egregious author of inappropriate comments, a member of the television production staff. In addition, the Board has started the process of instituting additional policies and procedures. The Miss America Organization takes very seriously its reputation and the character and actions of its representatives and apologizes for any concerns or ill feelings this situation has caused. Moreover, the Board of Directors has and is taking affirmative action and has implemented specific policies and protocols to directly address this matter and to prevent any issues moving forward.”
Sam released the following statement on Dec. 22 after his suspension from the Miss America Organization: “In response to the vicious story on me in the Huffington Post regarding Miss America and a series of conveniently edited emails, it is important for you to know that the events are not as described. Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable. The material is based on private emails that were stolen three years ago by ex employees. The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this non-profit. Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen. I was under stress from a full year of attacks by two Miss Americas, and while I don’t ever want to offer an excuse, I do want to offer context. This was not the CEO of an Organization laughing at inappropriate jokes and speaking about a former Miss America in email conversations. This was a father whose family was being attacked, and a man whose character was being assassinated daily, which impaired my judgment when responding to the inappropriate emails sent to me about them. For that, I deeply apologize. For years, I have dedicated my life to this organization – dedicated to empowering young women. This discussion is an unfortunate distraction from the good work that thousands of volunteers around this country have done to provide more scholarships to young women than any other scholarship organization in the nation. I have the utmost respect for the women of this program and contestants at every level. It breaks my heart for anyone to think otherwise. My mistake is a mistake of words. Therefore, to allow the MAO Board of Directors and me time to properly evaluate the situation, I will be abiding by their decision to suspend me in my capacity as Executive Chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization while an investigation takes place.”
HollywoodLifers, what are your thoughts about the alleged emails? Let us know!