Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America competition and the woman who infamously sued Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, said that the organization must seek to overcome the rift caused by eliminating the swimsuit competition before the next winner is crowned on September 9th. In an interview published Wednesday by the Associated Press, Carlson said the organization needed a “healing process,” while also dismissing critics as a “noisy minority.” Opposition to the swimsuit competition has been swift and powerful, with 22 state-level pageant officials signing a letter expressing “no confidence” in Carlson, the CEO, and the board after the swimsuit decision was made.
Some officials claim that Carlson threatened to pull their broadcast from national television if the swimsuit portion remained, and that the majority of their opposition is a result of “poor communication” from national management. CEO Regina Hopper rejected that characterization, noting that state-level officials felt entitled to a veto power they did not deserve. “Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean your particular opinion gets accepted,” she said. “States are licensees. If I’m a McDonalds licensee and the corporate office decides, ‘We’re going to serve chocolate french fries’ and I’m sitting here saying, ‘I don’t want to serve chocolate french fries,’ well, you’re going to serve chocolate french fries.”