September 22, 2020

Ole Miss alums Sam Haskell, Josh Randle resign from Miss America Organization following email scandal

Update (12/24/2017): This post has been updated with a statement from former Miss America Organization president Josh Randle.
In the wake of a blistering expose revealing years of sexist and derogatory company emails, Sam Haskell has resigned from his position as CEO of the Miss America Organization, along with fellow Mississippian and Ole Miss alum Josh Randle, the organization’s president.
The resignations come just days after the Huffington Post published an exclusive story documenting years of internal emails between Haskell and MAO leadership that reveal Haskell making sexist remarks about former Miss America winners, many of which were rooted in fat-shaming and discussing their sexual behavior.
Brent Adams, also an Ole Miss alum who worked closely with Haskell from 2012 to 2015, played a crucial role in shining a spotlight on the emails, as well as Haskell’s alleged behavior concerning former Miss America Mallory Hagan.
Adams said Haskell wasn’t happy about his romantic relationship with Hagan, urging him instead to date his daughter, Mary Lane. Haskell’s feeling about Hagan are revealed in several email exchanges as he and other MAO executives joked about her weight and discussed rumors regarding her sex life.
Handle released the following statement:
 
On December 21, 2017, the Huffington Post published an article regarding certain private email communications from representatives of The Miss America Organization (“MAO”). In light of recent events, I offer this statement to provide much-needed clarity and understanding.
I joined the MAO staff on March 23, 2015, as chief operating officer. In January 2015 – over two months before my employment began – I inappropriately responded to an email sent to my personal email account about a former Miss America. I apologize to Mallory for my lapse in judgment; it does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at The Miss America Organization.
 
However, the article implies alleged complicit participation on my part in a years-long array of inappropriate email communication, which is grossly misleading. Furthermore, the most egregious emails were exchanged in 2013 and 2014 and pre-date my employment altogether.
Over the past three years, I have dedicated my life to The Miss America Organization – furthering the goals and ideals of MAO for the benefit of the incredible young women participating in our national program. I am honored to have served, and I am exceedingly proud of the great work we have accomplished. Although this terrible situation was not caused or driven by me, in light of recent events and new developments, I am no longer willing to continue in my capacity as President and earlier today offered my resignation to the MAO Board of Directors.