Former beauty queen and Opelika-native Mallory Hagan was one of the Miss America pageant winners to be targeted by the organization’s CEO and the lead writer of the pageant’s telecast in emails recently released by the Huffington Post.
Hagan, who won the Miss America title in 2013 for the state of New York, told NBC’s Today Show on Friday that she was not surprised by the emails and feltf “validated” by them.
“When I first read the emails in the article, I wasn’t shocked but I was validated,” she said. “For the longest time, I’d try to explain to people around me this is happening, or these things are being said. And (now I) have the ability to look on paper and say, ‘See, I told you.'”
Hagan is referring to the emails in which CEO Sam Haskell described her as “huge,” “a piece of trash,” and “gross” in an email to lead writer Lewis Friedman, where he made comments about her weight and sex life.
The Miss America Organization suspended Haskell on Friday, less than 24 hours after leaked emails surfaced. They said its board “will be conducting an in-depth investigation into alleged inappropriate communications and the nature in which they were obtained.”
“My mistake is a mistake of words,” Haskell wrote in a statement Friday night, shortly after the board suspended him indefinitely. “Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable. The story is so unkind and untrue, and hurts me, my family, and the stewardship of this nonprofit. Those who know my heart know that this is not indicative of my character, nor is it indicative of my business acumen.”
Hagan was 2007 graduate of Opelika High School and attended Auburn University.