Gretchen Carlson: It’s ‘Justice’ For Former Miss Americas To Now Lead Org

Gretchen Carlson participates in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss her book "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Back Your Power" at AOL Studios on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gretchen Carlson says it’s “a form of justice” that former Miss Americas like herself who were trashed in emails from former leaders of the organization now are in charge of it.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” on Friday, the former Fox News anchor said she will make the Miss America Organization all about empowering women.

Carlson, Miss America 1989, was named chairwoman of the organization’s board of directors this week in the wake of an email scandal that led to the ouster of the pageant’s top leadership. Many of the new board members are, like Carlson, former Miss Americas.

“I find that incredibly empowering,” she said. “Some of the women who were allegedly maligned in those appalling emails are now running the place. It’s a form of justice.”

Carlson was among the former Miss Americas who were ridiculed in emails by top leaders of the Miss America Organization that were published by the Huffington Post. Much of the criticism was based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives. She was specifically targeted in correspondence among former CEO Sam Haskell and others, in which he wrote of tactics he hoped would drive her insane.

The selection of Carlson marks the first time a former pageant winner has served as the leader of the nearly 100-year-old organization. New board members include three other past Miss Americas: 2012 winner Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, 2000 winner Heather French Henry and Kate Shindle, who won in 1998 and now serves as president of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Carlson’s harassment lawsuit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes led to his departure.

She did not answer a question on whether the pageant will retain its swimsuit competition, saying only, “please stay tuned” to see her plans for the organization.

“I plan to make this organization 100 percent about empowering women,” she said. “Changes are coming.”

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