Miss America terminates agreements with N.J., N.Y., and Fla.
Miss America groups in three more states have had their licenses revoked by the Miss America Organization.
ATLANTIC CITY — There they go, again.
Miss America groups in three more states have had their licenses revoked by the Miss America Organization amid a bitter, high-stakes clash between state pageants and the national leadership.
The organization sent termination letters on Friday to state organizations in New York, Florida, and New Jersey, the pageant’s traditional home.
The Associated Press obtained two of the letters and confirmed with leaders of the third state that it, too, had its license revoked, meaning state officials have 10 days to appeal or relinquish control to new leaders.
A state organization that loses its license also must turn over bank accounts with scholarship money to the national group.
The parent organization has sent termination letters to seven states, including Pennsylvania, and leaders in an eighth state have resigned in protest.
The Miss America Organization declined Wednesday to discuss the shake-up.
“The revocations are subject to a confidential appeal process and we are unable to comment on the status of the licensees or their leadership,” it said in a statement.
Officials declined to say whether any of the targeted state leadership groups had been replaced.
A representative for the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation, the group that sends Miss New Jersey to the national pageant, declined to comment.
Over the summer, dozens of state organizations revolted against the national leadership of the pageant headed by Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and television host.
State officials say their dissatisfaction stems not from this year’s elimination of the swimsuit competition, but the way Carlson and chief executive officer Regina Hopper have run the national organization since taking over in January.
They want to focus more on the contestants' platforms and talents in an attempt to make the pageant more relevant.
But most state leadership groups chafed under the new national leaders, and the outgoing Miss America, Cara Mund of North Dakota, released a letter in which she said she had been marginalized and bullied by top pageant leaders.
An independent investigation commissioned by the Miss America Organization found no evidence to back up that claim, but investigators did not interview Mund for the report, which was issued on Sept. 10, the day after the 2018 pageant was held.
Mund said she was too busy with her duties in the waning days of her reign as Miss America to sit for an interview before the pageant.
The letter to Florida cites “the state organization’s default under the agreement,” but does not spell out what the violations were. The letter to New Jersey states that its agreement with the parent organization is not being renewed.
State organizations whose licenses are terminated can request an appeal hearing from Miss America’s executive committee. After an appeal is heard, the Miss America Organization has the right to seek a new licensee.
Carlson, Miss America 1989 and #MeToo activist, stepped in after the former leadership was caught fat-shaming former Miss Americas in emails. A group of former Miss Americas has been campaigning for her to resign.
In addition to Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, site of the national pageant each year at Boardwalk Hall, other states that have received termination letters include Georgia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Colorado’s leaders quit.
New York has produced four of the last six Miss Americas, including the current Miss America, Nia Franklin.
Staff writer Tom Avril contributed to this article.