Sometimes, Miss America really does miss a beat. Not everyone is happy with the changes to the decades-old pageant, including the removal of the competition’s swimsuit category, and the controversy seems to be playing out at the state level, resulting in a tone-deaf joke that has prompted on contestant to turn in her crown.
At the final round of the Miss Massachusetts competition earlier this month, a sketch was performed that the Observer reported went like this: “We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting,” a woman said on stage. “And I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.” “Me too, Amy,” replied a person dressed as God, holding up a #MeToo sign.
While Miss America is the final stop, all contestants must first compete and win a title at the state level, where most of the competitions still do have a swimsuit competition.
Much of the crowd reportedly applauded, but others were said to be shocked — including one of the participants.
Maude Gorman resigned from her title of Miss Plymouth County 2018 after witnessing the off-color crack from backstage, CNN reports. She explained why in a post on Instagram:
“While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply ‘let this go.'”
As a survivor of gang rape at age 13, Gorman told CNN that she knew she had to do something when she heard the remark or “it was going to eat away at me if I didn’t.” Her pageant days appear to be over, and she told CNN “I don’t see myself competing again. I am happy with leaving the pageant world behind me.” Gorman is also a teacher and a volunteer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. In an interview with WCVB local news, Gorman elaborated, saying, “My heart dropped and I knew I had to take a step back away from the crown.” She added, “I didn’t want this little joke, this little skit — even if people think it’s a small thing, it’s not. It’s huge and survivors deserved to have their voices heard, understood and taken seriously.”
The Miss Massachusetts organization later apologized on Facebook, saying that the skit was not in the script and was not authorized by its board of directors. Still, it revealed some of the loaded sentiments behind a competition so steeped in tradition.
To hear more from Gorman, including her telling the story of being raped on a play ground when she was a child, watch the video below.
Read the full story at CNN.