The Miss America beauty pageant leaders resigned.

The head of the organization that stages the Miss America beauty pageant and other leaders with the group resigned on Saturday after a report this week alleging that emails he had sent were derogatory toward past winners.

 Sam Haskell's resignation as executive chairman and chief executive of the Miss America Organization was accompanied by the departure of the organization's president, the chairman of the board and a board member.

 Haskell had been suspended on Friday, one day after a Huffington Post report about the internal emails. The pageant has for years faced criticism that it objectifies women, and the scandal over the emails has led to renewed scrutiny of the annual event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"This afternoon, the board of directors of the Miss America Organization accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Haskell, effective immediately," Dan Meyers, interim chairman of the board, said in a statement.  Lynn Weidner, chairman of the 96-year-old organization's board, also resigned but will remain on the board up to 90 days to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, Meyers said.

Josh Randle, president and COO, is also stepping down but will remain in his position temporarily, a Miss America Organization spokesman said in a statement. On Friday, board member Tammy Haddad said in a statement she was following through on her plan to resign, effective immediately.

 Haddad in emails had referred to past Miss America winners as "malcontents" and suggested hiring an investigator to look into the activities of one former winner, the Huffington Post reported. Haddad, in an email to Reuters, said her intention in suggesting an investigation was only to discover the source of "anonymous character attacks" that had been launched on the Miss America private on-line community boards.


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