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In 1983, Vanessa Williams was the first African-American to win the crown of Miss America. Ten months later, nude photos of Williams that were taken when she worked as a photography assistant (and thought had been destroyed) were released in Penthouse without her consent. The story goes that the photos were offered to Penthouse after Hugh Hefner turned them down for Playboy, citing the unscrupulous nature in which they had been offered.
The whole scandal was messily drawn out in the media, and with sponsors threatening to pull out of the 1984 competition, Williams was pressured by Miss America to resign her title. Fast-forward to 2015, Vanessa Williams was invited back to the Miss America competition to serve as head judge, 32 years later. As the pageant opened, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell finally apologized to Williams for the ugly way she was treated, as transcribed below:
None of us currently in the organization were involved then. On behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America that you are, and Miss America you always will be.
Better late than never? For what it’s worth, although Williams was forced to resign her title, she still got to keep the crown, as she reminded everyone on Instagram last week:
(Via E! Online)