ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Dick Clark Productions says it has cut ties with the Miss America Organization over internal emails by pageant senior leadership that ridiculed past winners’ appearance, intelligence, and sex lives.

The Huffington Post reported Thursday that the Miss America Organization’s CEO, Sam Haskell, exchanged emails with a writer for the televised pageant and others that included harsh and sometimes defamatory comments about past winners.

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Dick Clark Productions, which produces the nationally televised pageant broadcasts, tells The Associated Press it has cut ties with the pageant over the emails, calling them “appalling.”

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The comments are in stark contrast to the glowing, supportive statements Haskell repeatedly made in public about past title winners.

Haskell told the AP he would respond on Friday; the Miss America Organization says he has apologized to the board.

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