×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Miss America CEO Apologizes to Vanessa Williams More Than 30 Years After She Resigned Her Crown

The Miss America pageant offered a formal apology to Vanessa Williams on Sunday night’s telecast, more than 30 years after the actress was forced to resign her title in 1984 following the unauthorized publication of nude photos from 1982 in Penthouse magazine.

Williams took the stage for a performance of “Oh How the Years Go By” before being joined onstage by Miss America CEO Sam Haskell, who told the Grammy and Tony-nominated star, “You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though 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, Ms. Helen Williams. 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.”

Visibly moved, Williams responded that Haskell’s words were “so unexpected but so beautiful. I did the best that I could in my reign as Miss America in 1983-84” and thanked Haskell on behalf of her family, before going on to praise his “leadership” and “integrity. You bring this pageant back to what it ought to be … I’m so honored to be back.”

Williams made history when she became the first African American contestant to be crowned Miss America during the Sept. 17, 1983 ceremony. Seven weeks before the end of her reign, Williams resigned the crown in the midst of a nude photo scandal and was replaced by runner-up Suzette Charles.

The multi-hyphenate performer, who has since enjoyed numerous roles on stage and screen, including an Emmy-nominated turn on “Ugly Betty,” served as a judge alongside Brett Eldredge; Taya Kyle; Danica McKellar; Kevin O’Leary; Amy Purdy and Zendaya at the 2016 pageant.

Read on to find out who won this year’s pageant. (SPOILER ALERT)

The winner of the 2016 Miss America title was Miss Georiga, Betty Cantrell.

More TV

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Legal Drama Eclipses the Rest of His Story (Column)

    Like so many other stories these days, the Jussie Smollett legal saga seemed governed not by coherent logic, but by chaos, and, in its absence of narrative, invites any observer to find in it the story they prefer hearing. Smollett, the “Empire” star who had been in legal jeopardy due to allegations of staging a [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • univision-dish blackout

    Univision, Dish Network Reach Carriage Deal After Nine-Month Blackout

    Univision and satcaster Dish Network have reached a carriage agreement after a nine-month blackout that marked one of the longest standoffs between a major programmer and distributor. Univision channels went dark on Dish Network’s satellite and streaming platforms on June 30. The sides were at odds over carriage fees that have become increasingly contentious for [...]

  • Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal at

    Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal at Netflix

    Brad Falchuk is joining Ryan Murphy at Netflix. Falchuk and his Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision banner have signed an overall deal with the streamer, which sources say is for four years and worth eight figures. He is currently set up under a deal at 20th Century Fox Television, with that deal set to expire on June [...]

  • A still from Cartoon Network’s “Victor

    Cartoon Network's 'Victor and Valentino' to Debut in U.S., Latin America on Saturday

    The folklore of Mesoamerica will come to life in Cartoon Network’s colorful new series “Victor and Valentino,” which premieres in the U.S. and Latin America on Saturday, March 30. The series follows the antics of the titular half-brothers as they learn to get along while unraveling the mysteries of the quirky little town of Monte [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content