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Miss America Pageant Apologizes To Vanessa Williams Decades After Nude Photo Scandal

The executive chairman of the Miss America pageant has apologized to Vanessa Williams for the way they handled her scandal in 1984.

Williams became the first African-American woman to win the crown that year, but was forced to resign after nude photos (uncensored link) from her past went public.

Specifically Vanessa Williams nude photos, taken well before she joined the competition, were published in Penthouse several months after she took the title and the model was made to resign.

Sam Haskell apologized to Williams during Sunday night's nationally televised broadcast saying: "I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years. You have lived your life with grace and dignity and never was it more evident during the events of 1984 when you resigned."

"Though none of us currently in the organization were involved in it, on behalf of today's organization, I want to apologize for anything that was said and done 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."

It was the first time Vanessa Williams had returned to Miss America in three decades. This time as a head judge.

"Thank you Sam, so unexpected but so beautiful," she replied. "I did the best that I could during my reign during 1983 to 1984. On behalf of my family and my mother in particular…and your leadership and integrity, I love you. I love the girls and I'm so honored."

September 14, 2015 |

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