This year’s Miss America has gone rogue. In an open letter, Cara Mund claims she has been silenced and put “on a shelf” by the organization since 1989’s crown-wearer Gretchen Carlson stepped back into the Miss America limelight.
“I truly felt more valued, respected and viewed as a real collaborator within my first three months rather that these last eight months,” Mund wrote in an open letter distributed to prior Miss America winners. “I strongly believe 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 related to positioning the organization for the future.”
Read the entire letter below.
Mund says the changes began when Carlson and Regina Hopper took leadership positions with the Miss America Organization at the beginning of this year following a scandal in which sexually derogatory emails of former board members surfaced.
Carlson, the former Fox News anchor, became an outspoken voice for sexual harassment victims when her lawsuit against her former employer exposed the rampant, longtime misconduct of former chairman Roger Ailes.
Earlier this summer, Carlson and the Miss Universe Organization announced that the beauty pageant would break with tradition by doing away with its swimsuit competition, a decision unpopular with many in the state pageant community.
Mund first made her displeasure with the organization known in a candid interview with The Press of Atlantic City news site, which she references in her open letter (also published on the site).
Mund writes in the open letter that she was excluded from, among other things, the publicity surrounding the pageant changes (Carlson announced the organization’s new approach in an interview on Good Morning America June 8.) The new leadership, she writes, had “delivered an important message: there will only be one Miss America at a time, and she isn’t me.”
The new Miss America will be crowned Sept. 9. The event will air on ABC, and Mund says she wants Miss America 2019 to have a better experience than Miss America 2018 did.
“I want her year to be better than my year,” Mund writes. “If you want Miss America to be relevant, then the leadership needs to understand she is not a wind-up toy who they can power up to spit out the meaningless words that are put into her mouth, then put back on the shelf until it’s time to do it again.
Read the letter here.