A skit at the Miss Massachusetts pageant poking fun at the #MeToo movement has prompted one beauty queen with a traumatic past to resign her title.
Maude Gorman, who is now officially the former Miss Plymouth County, announced that she is no longer going to wear the crown for the newly rebranded Miss America Organization after event producers dropped a #MeToo joke into a skit satirizing its decision to end the swimsuit competition.
The Observer, which obtained video of the skit, describes its content and the audience's reaction:
"We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It's very upsetting," a woman kneeling on a chair on stage bemoaned as part of the comedy sketch. "And I'm trying to understand, God, why it happened."
"Me too, Amy," responded a person dressed as God, holding up a #MeToo sign.
A very vocal part of the crowd cheered following the comment, and the emcee had to wait until the applause died down to proceed. But many of those in attendance were floored by the tone-deaf remark. In the aftermath, at least one title holder is planning to turn in her sash.
Gorman, who was gang-raped at 13 years old and nearly dropped out of school after years of PTSD, told The Observer that she can no longer be associated with the organization.
"You know I am a survivor of rape at the age of 13. I've been very public with my story," she told the Observer. "In 2015, I was Miss Massachusetts World and I shared my story for the first time with The Boston Herald, and I became a figure against sexual violence. And you know I’m in the middle of writing my resignation letter because I don’t even really want to have a local title anymore after seeing something like that. Personally, I can’t see myself being a part of the Miss America organization."
Gorman also posted a statement on Instagram: "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.' Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING."
In a statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle, the Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Foundation apologized for the skit but also said it didn't know its content beforehand:
The Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Pageant Board of Directors supports Maude Gorman’s difficult decision to step down as Miss Plymouth County. However, it is important to note that the Board had no knowledge of the skit pertaining to the elimination of the swimsuit competition from the Miss America Program, nor do we condone it. A formal apology from our board was released last week. The skit was not designed to make light of sexual assault or the Me,Too movement – but instead to poke fun at the uproar caused in the pageant community over swimsuit being eliminated.
The Miss America Organization is in the midst of a rebranding effort helmed by chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News host and one of the more vocal advocates of the #MeToo movement.