Pop Culture

Should Vanessa Williams Accept the Miss America Pageant Apology?

We're giving you the side-eye, Miss America CEO.

Vanessa Williams was in for a surprise when she accepted a position as a celebrity judge for this year's Miss America pageant. She hasn't had much to do with the organization since she was crowned Miss America in 1983 - and then forced to resign the following year, when nude photos of her were published in Penthouse magazine. She was the first African American woman to win the crown.


Sam Haskell, executive chairman of the Miss America pageant, surprised everyone when he unexpectedly apologized to Vanessa on stage, "on behalf of today's organization," for how everything went down. Said Haskell, "I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."


Ok. That's nice. But is that really an apology? Let's look at what happened 32 years ago: nude photos of Vanessa were published without her consent in a major publication. That had to have been violating enough, but then Penthouse had to go and be complete jerks about it, claiming that Vanessa's nude pics were an "interesting bit of highly newsworthy information and photographs.” Bob Guccione, publisher, even told the New York Times that he didn't feel he was responsible for what Vanessa was going through, and that he was only fulfilling an obligation to his readers. (I know, right? Barf.)


Vanessa never should have been penalized for what happened in the first place. It wasn't her fault, and Haskell's apology is sounding a lot like 'We're sorry for how we did it," rather than "We're sorry that we did it in the first place."


But hey. Vanessa responded by saying that the apology was unexpected but "so beautiful," so if it's good enough for Vanessa Williams, it's good enough for me. Check out the clip below.


Do you think their apology was genuine? Is the Miss America pageant even relevant anymore? Is it weird that I'm this annoyed about something that happened before I was even born? (Don't judge me.)


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