Vanessa Williams Gets Apology From Miss America Pageant
Vanessa Williams finally got an apology from the Miss America organization on Sunday night. Three decades after being pressured into giving up her crown, the pageant’s first African-American winner returned to the Miss America stage for the first time, where the pageant’s CEO said the organization was sorry.
As you may recall, Williams, who represented the state of New York in the 1983 competition, stepped down with just seven weeks left in her term after Penthouse magazine published nude photos she had taken years earlier.
At Sunday’s pageant, Miss America’s current CEO Sam Haskell said before the audience, “You have lived your life with grace and dignity,” adding,”never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned.” Haskell continued, “On behalf of today’s organizations, I want to apologize to you and to your mother… for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and Miss America you always will be.”
Williams, now an Emmy and Grammy-nominated actress and recording star, graciously accepted the apology. “I did the best that I could (during) my reign as Miss America from 1983 to 1984,” she said. “I love you. I love the girls and I am so honored to be back.”
Williams, who performed her 2007 hit “Oh How The Years Go By” earlier in the telecast, was among seven celebrity judges for the 95th annual event. She joined Disney Channel actress Zendaya, “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary, “Wonder Years” star Danica McKellar, snowboarder Amy Purdy, country singer Brett Eldredge, and author-activist Taya Kyle.