Gretchen Carlson: I didn't silence, bully Miss America

Axelle  Bauer-Griffin  FilmMagic via Getty Images

Mund drew headlines last week when she accused pageant leaders of controlling, bullying and manipulating her.

Caressa Cameron Jackson was Miss America 2010 and told Inside Edition that "we voted, myself included, to put Gretchen in this position", adding, "It's heartbreaking to see that's not the way things have gone".

But as The Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday, Carlson wasn't going to sit back and let herself be publicly reprimanded without giving her side of the story.

Mund alleged that Carlson and Regina Hopper, the pageant's CEO, "reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis".

She was hired to lead the Miss America pageant after an email controversy involving the previous leadership. Friday, as an organization we learned that $75,000 in scholarships is no longer on the table as a direct result of the explosive allegations in your letter. 'We've acknowledged your grievances and taken many steps to try to make your experience a good one'.

Miss Washington 2017 Nicole Renard, who competed against Mund for the Miss America title, said, "As Miss America you are the face of the organization, you are the national spokesperson and ambassador for young women across the country and she should be the one speaking, she should be the one talking to the press".

This year's Miss America pageant will be held September 9 in Atlantic City.

'The impact won't stop there.

Cameron-Jackson said Carlson lied about why the swimsuits had to go. When she obliquely hinted at trouble with pageant leadership in an interview earlier this month with The Press of Atlantic City, Mund said she was swiftly punished by having her televised farewell speech cut to 30 seconds, and was told a dress she had been approved to wear in the traditional "show us your shoes" parade can not be worn. "I don't think that it's also fair if someone has [said], "You hurt me" to say, 'No, I didn't'".

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She said state licensees like Miss North Dakota could be crucial as Miss America responds to its leadership woes.

Carlson, the 1989 Miss America victor who has enacted reforms at the pageant, including the elimination of the swimsuit competition, said, "I also want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you".

Many thought changes to the contest were happening too far, too fast.

She said it seemed the group was heading in the right direction for this year's pageant, including the elimination of the swimsuit competition, which is why she was "surprised and saddened beyond words" by Mund's letter.

Gretchen Carlson attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

A month before the next Miss America is crowned, the pageant is divided after the swimsuit competition was ditched in June. "And then when it was found out that that was not the truth, that was just the beginning of a lot of undercurrents of transparency that states have been asking for, we as Miss Americas have been asking for and not getting it".

Mund has only three weeks left to her reign, but she's going out fighting, claiming she was banned from doing TV interviews because Carlson wanted all the attention, she said.

'We are not gonna do the victim-shaming here, and I think that I'm sure she [Carlson] didn't want that when she was part of the #MeToo movement, ' Camron-Jackson continued.

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