Gretchen Carlson, former Miss America and Fox News anchor, is stepping down as the organization’s chairwoman after taking over last year and giving the pageant a dramatic re-branding. “When I was asked to take this volunteer position over a year ago, I dedicated myself to helping the organization build on its history while working to secure its future, and am extremely proud of the work we have collectively done,” Carlson said in a statement released Wednesday. “With a promising network partnership, the time is ideal to give new leadership the opportunity to move forward with what has been accomplished,” she said. Carlson’s stint with the organization generated a great deal of controversy, and she was accused of bullying by 2018’s Miss America Cara Bund. Bund said Carlson and the organization’s CEO had treated her with “disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion.” Carlson, who sued the late Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, had also cancelled the swimsuit portion of the pageant in the wake of the #MeToo movement. She was crowned Miss America in 1989. Former South Dakota secretary of state Shantel Krebs will is set to take her place.
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