Former Miss America Mallory Hagan hopes scandal ‘signals the reinvention’ of pageant

This Aug. 30, 2017 photo shows Josh Randle, president of the Miss America Organization, speaking at a welcoming ceremony for pageant contestants in Atlantic City N.J. On Saturday Dec. 23, 2017, Randle resigned from the organization in the wake of an email scandal in which top leaders of the group ridiculed former Miss Americas, including comments about their appearance, intellect and sex lives. The group's CEO was suspended on Friday. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

(ABC News) — Former Miss America Mallory Hagan hopes the email scandal surrounding the pageant, as well as the immediate fallout, “signals the reinvention” of the contest going forward, she said today on “Good Morning America.”

Hagan addressed the controversy on “GMA” from her home in Alabama after a Huffington Post report last week that contained emails showing the now former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell and other executives’ demeaning the appearance, intellect and personal lives of former winners.

Asked this morning whether she had seen firsthand any behavior of that kind, she said no, though adding she witnessed that “language used about other [past] Miss Americas.”

“But hindsight is always twenty-twenty,” the 2013 pageant winner, 29, added.

She said she hopes the resignation by Haskell and other board members starts a conversation, and “I think this is an opportunity to see how women can come together.”

Hagan added: “I hope it signals the reinvention” of the pageant.

Related Content: 3 Miss America officials resign, 1 apologizes to ex-winner

The emails discussed Hagan’s love life and weight, and she took to social media over the weekend to thank Brent Adams, the former pageant employee who spoke to the Huffington Post, and fans who had reached out to support her. She thanked Adams again on “GMA.”

“He stood up for me; he stood up for all these women,” she said today.

Haskell resigned Saturday, two days after the internal emails leaked and one day after he was suspended.

“My mistake is a mistake of words,” Haskell wrote in a statement issued Friday night, obtained by The Associated Press. “Much of what was reported is dishonest, deceptive, and despicable.

Hagan today addressed the reactions by Haskell and others who were involved in the emails, saying, “I did see that Josh Randle said he apologizes for his behavior and, for that, I guess I’m grateful. But in the other statements that I saw, I’m not seeing really an apology there.”

She added, however, “that’s not really the point here.”

The board also accepted the resignation of chairman Lynn Weidner, who Meyers said will remain on the board for up to 90 days “to facilitate a smooth transition.”

A Miss America Organization spokesman confirmed to ABC News that the board also received and accepted the resignation of the president Josh Randle earlier Saturday.

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