Miss America Contest Dropping Bikini Competition
June 5, 2018
In a nod to the #MeToo movement and an internal sexual harassment scandal, the Miss America Organization is dropping the swimsuit competition from its next pageant in September.
The change was revealed June 5 in a tweet by reigning Miss America Cara Mund, as well as by Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News host and now chairwoman of the Atlantic City, N.J.-based pageant on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” show.
“We want more women to know that they are welcome in this organization,” Carlson said. “We are not going to judge you on your outward appearance.”
“We are changing out of our swimsuits and into a whole new era,” Mund tweeted.
Carlson in 2016 filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News and its late boss Roger Ailes, which ended in a $20 million settlement for Carlson.
The 1989 Miss America winner said the competition — which started in 1921 in Atlantic City — would instead focus on contestants’ intelligence, opinions and talents.
“People actually like the talent part of the competition,” Carlson said.
How TV viewers react to the change remains to be seen.
Playboy in 2016 made news when it dropped female nudity from the famed publication started by the late Hugh Hefner. The change lasted less than a year when Hefner’s son Cooper, chief creative officer at Playboy, said removing nudity from the publication had been a mistake.
“Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are,” he tweeted in 2017.