Miss America pageant apologises to Vanessa Williams

Los Angeles :The organisers of Miss America have apologised to Vanessa Williams, the first African-American woman to win the crown in 1984, for the way their predecessors handled a nude photo scandal involving her.

Williams was forced to return the crown after the nude photos from her past were published in Penthouse several months after she won the title.

Sam Haskell, the executive chairman of the pageant apologised to Williams during Sunday night’s televised pageant, said the Hollywood Reporter.

“I want to apologize for anything that was said or done” during the photo scandal, said Haskell.

“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,” he announced onstage.

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.”

Williams, 52, who went on to become a famous stage and TV actress, returned to the pageant for the first time in 32 years as head judge.