Former Miss America Carlson named new chairperson after scandal

Gretchen Carlson poses at the 2017 Forbes Women’s Summit at Spring Studios in New York. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 02 January 2018
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Former Miss America Carlson named new chairperson after scandal

WASHINGTON: Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has been named the new chairperson of the Miss America beauty pageant, becoming the first former winner to lead the organization following a scandal over lewd and sexist emails.
Her appointment came just over a week after the resignation of the pageant’s under-fire CEO Sam Haskell, who had written some of the emails that contained misogynistic language.
“Honored to move this iconic program forward with so many amazing volunteers,” the 51-year-old Carlson, who won the competition in 1989, wrote on Twitter.
Carlson’s appointment was effective immediately, the organization said, adding that three other former winners would join the board of directors.
“Most previously serving directors have resigned,” the statement said.
Dozens of former beauty queens had demanded that Haskell step down after The Huffington Post published leaked internal emails that included a vulgarity to refer to past winners and the shaming of one over her weight..., with Haskell calling her “a piece of trash.”
The news site initially quoted the Miss America Organization as saying it was notified about the emails months earlier and fired a telecast writer — the “most egregious author of inappropriate comments.”
But in a matter of days, Haskell, Miss America President Josh Randle and board chair Lynn Weidner all resigned.
The scandal prompted the show’s producers, Dick Clark Productions, to sever ties with the organization.
Carlson — who is best known for her decade-long tenure as an anchor at Fox News — made headlines in 2016 when she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network’s then boss Roger Ailes, precipitating his departure.
The suit was settled for a reported $20 million.
Commenting on the scandal, Carlson said: “Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program.
“In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future.”


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.