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Miss America under new leadership

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Former FOX News anchor and Miss America 1989, Gretchen Carlson, has been named chairwoman of the Miss America organization - effective immediately. The announcement comes days after three board members, and the CEO, Sam Haskell resigned after a leak of derogatory emails about former pageant contestants. 

Former Miss America, Mallory Hagan said she knew the derogatory conversations and statements were happening around her. She was not able to come forward due to a lack of proof. 

ABC7's Erika Jackson spoke to Hagan through Skype Tuesday. Hagan said that Haskell and other board members were using the non-profit program to weaponize former titleholders.

Hagan said, "We're seeing the me too movement really take off and we're seeing women come forward with their stories. While it's not technically sexual harassment, it's still harassment and creates a culture of abuse." 

Haskell and three board members stepped down after the emails went public. Hagan added that the truth came to light because a man spoke out for these women and more men need to take a stand. 

Locally, representatives of the Miss Manatee County pageant said they are looking forward to the leadership change.

"Gretchen has already had an amazing career so we love the fact that she's got such great experience and exposure in the entertainment industry. Also she's really relatable and if you reach out to her even on social media, she's been very receptive with people asking questions," said Samantha Solie, Assistant Director of Manatee County Pageants.