A little over three decades after Vanessa Williams was forced to resign as Miss USA following a nude photo scandal she was involved in, the actress and singer returned to the Miss America stage Sunday night, where the pageant’s CEO apologized to her for the way the scandal was handled.
CEO Sam Haskell said to the audience “I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years.” He went on to tell Vanessa, “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, Miss Helen Williams,” Haskell said,. “I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.”
The audience erupted with applause after the apology as Vanessa who was one of the judges for the nightsmiled with teary eyes.
Williams became the first black woman to win the Miss USA crown when she contested in 1983.
She held the title for 10 months, until Penthouse magazine leaked nude photos of her that were taken before her reign. Although Williams resigned, it was widely believed that the Miss America Organization forced her to give up her title.
This year’s Miss USA is21-year-old Betty Cantrell from Georgia. Below are a few pictures of the new queen.
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