Miss America Finally Apologizes to Vanessa Williams — Watch Video

ABC promised a history-making “twist” during Sunday’s Miss America competition; what it didn’t mention, however, was how incredibly uncomfortable that twist would be.

Following Williams’ performance of “Oh How the Years Go By,” the Ugly Betty star was joined on stage by Miss America CEO Sam Haskell, who apologized — both to Williams and to her mother in the audience — for the way the committee (allegedly) pressured Williams to resign from her position in 1984, following the release of her nude photos.

“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years,” Haskell began. “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. And to your mother, Miss Helen Williams, I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel anything less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.”

Responded Williams, “Thank you so much, Sam. This is so unexpected, but so beautiful. I did the best that I could as my reign as Miss America from 1983 to ’84. On behalf of my family — my mother, in particular — Bryan Edwards, who orchestrated this entire thing to bring me back and your leadership, your integrity, and you bringing this pageant back to what it ought to be. I love you, I love the girls and I’m so honored to be back.”

Hit PLAY on the video above, then drop a comment with your thoughts: Did you find this satisfying, or just super awkward? And do you think the apology was really a “surprise,” as Williams claimed?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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8 Comments
  1. ci says:

    I think she meant it was “unexpected” when they approached her about a return and reconciliation, not in the moment she said it.

  2. SL says:

    I think Vanessa Williams is a talented and lovely lady and I am happy for the success she has enjoyed in her career. However I remember the circumstances of that time. When I first heard about nude photos, I did not consider I that important until I saw them. It was the nature of the photos that were offensive and while everyone can make an error in judgement, those photos did not reflect well on a Miss America. That shouldn’t and didn’t affect her later success which is well deserved.

    • Oh quell horror! The evil lesbian photos! How offensive! Yada yada… get over it.

      • Some of us still adhere to standards of decency. I thought the Miss America Pageant folks did too but I guess I was wrong. Yes, those photos were offensive and I don’t mean because they might have depicted lesbianism. They were nude and pornographic and therefore unacceptable to what I hope is the majority of society.

  3. cuius says:

    Unbelievable that these “competitions” are still around in the US

  4. Noel McKeown says:

    As a white Ango-Saxon male I watched this entire travesty take place several years after I graduated from law school. Vanessa Williams was clearly a very intelligent, very beautiful, very talented young lady who throughly deserved the crown she had won. Her 10 months exemplifying all of the attributes that make a Miss America someone very special were done beautifully and fully up to the standards of any reasonable person – let alone the Pageant.

    Vanessa’s subsequent career as an actress, model, and singer need no comment. They were exemplary successes earned by hard work and a lot of talent.

    Her belated return to the Pageant as a judge and the heartfelt apology given to her and to her mother were long overdue but done beautifully!

    Were there any “PR” benefits to the pageant, of course; but I would much prefer to take the present pageant officials at their word and to accept their sincere offer for her to return as a judge and to receive a very special apology at face value.

    It is never too late to correct a wrong-doing, and I believe the present pageant officials deserve full credit for doing so!

    They didm’t have to give the apology; but they did, and in doing so they did what was right – for themselves, for the pageant and for Vanessa Williams and her family!

  5. I find it ludicrous for anyone to apologize to her. She did a totally nasty thing that besmirched the integrity and stature of the pageant and correctly stepped down. For her to even be a celebrity to this day astounds me.Why they brought her back to do anything is beyond me. I’m washing my hands of this organization in its entirety!