Miss America CEO Apologizes To Vanessa Williams 32 Years After Nude Photo Scandal
Vanessa Williams, former Miss America title holder who had to resign her crown after a nude photograph scandal, returned to the pageant on Sunday after more than three decades to serve as a judge.
“We are thrilled to welcome her ‘home’ as our head judge as she helps select the 95th Anniversary Miss America,” Miss America Executive Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell, III told People Magazine. Williams, who had to resign her title 32 years ago after it was found out that she had posed nude for Penthouse magazine before the pageant, was the judge in the competition along with Zendaya, Brett Eldredge, snowboarding bronze medalist Amy Purdy and Taya Kyle, widow of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
Haskell apologized to Williams and her mother, Helen, at the start of the event. He stated that although none of the executives currently with the pageant were involved in forcing her to resign her title, he wanted to apologize for “anything that was said or done” in 1984. Williams went on to become a famous television personality after the scandal.
Taylor Wiebers bagged the preliminary talent competition on Tuesday with an impressive performance of “Don’t Forget Me” from television show “Smash.” She also emerged victorious in the swimsuit preliminaries on Thursday. While acquiring points increases the chances of the contenders’ standing in the finals, the current Miss America, Kira Kazantsev, had not won a preliminary title last year but went on to the bag the coveted title on the final night.
Mired in a legal controversy over rights to its use, the “Miss America” song will return to the pageant after a five-year absence. An unknown sum of money had been paid by the Miss America Organization to the estate of songwriter Bernie Wayne, as reported by AOL.com.
Meanwhile, following allegations by several women across the country that they paid the official tanning partner of the Miss America Organization, but were disallowed from participating in events in Atlantic City, the organization has suspended the credentials of the company and is looking into the matter. These women claim to have paid between $499 and $1,000 but were later denied permission to participate.
In a statement, Chelsea Mineur, Miss America spokeswoman said on Saturday, “Integrity is a core value of the Miss America Organization. Consequently, the organization took these allegations very seriously and is undergoing a thorough investigation and will act on findings accordingly.”
Jennifer Kidd, who paid $1,000 to be part of a “pro team” of spray tanners, was told the night before she was to fly to Atlantic City that some issue had emerged regarding her background check.
“Some people did get an experience that she promised, but I do believe that she had every intention of a lot more people not getting that experience, of denying people that,” Kidd said. “It feels like Kelly Richardson has essentially used Miss America, a non-profit organization focused on charity and education and empowering women and she has done just the opposite.”
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