ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS/AP) — After months of controversy and change, a new Miss America will be chosen Sunday night in Atlantic City.
The preliminary rounds kicked off earlier this week. This is the first time the competition has taken place since an email scandal forced several board members out.
Since then, chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and the rest of the leadership have done away with the swimsuit and evening gown contests. An email scandal last December in which former Miss America officials denigrated the intelligence, appearance and sex lives of former title winners led to a shake-up at the top, and the group’s top three leadership positions are now held by women.
Among the other changes being made, officials will no longer use the term “pageant” to describe the competition.
There have been other controversies surrounding the event, too.
The reigning Miss America, Cara Mund, has accused the competition officials of trying to silence her complaints.
“Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future,” Mund wrote. “Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis. After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll.”
Shortly after Mund’s letter was made public, Miss America chairwoman Gretchen Carlson struck back against the reigning Miss America, saying Cara Mund’s allegations that Carlson and others bullied her have led to a loss of $75,000 in scholarship money for this year’s contestants.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)