Former Miss Americas call for Gretchen Carlson to step down

Furious former Miss Americas blew their tiaras on Monday as they blasted pageant Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson as a bully — and Carlson, the 1989 title winner, clapped back on Twitter.

Miss America 1984, Suzette Charles, who is among a group of 19 former crown winners calling for Carlson’s head, went on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” Monday and lambasted the pageant leader.

“I’ve had some background on Gretchen. Gretchen has been bullying for a long time,” she said while appearing on the show with Miss America 1995, Heather Whitestone.

“Actually she’s bullied my sister here, Heather Whitestone,” Charles said. “This person has taken no responsibility for the way she’s treated our current Miss America.”

Whitestone said that the trouble is all about Carlson wanting “to be the face of the Miss America Organization” over even the current title holder.

The interview comes days after the reigning Miss America, Cara Mund, 24, wrote a bombshell open letter accusing Carlson and other top pageant execs of bullying and belittling her.

She was also supported publicly Monday by Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron-Jackson, who told ABC’s “Good Morning America” “absolutely” when asked if Carlson and the whole pageant board should step down.

“I feel as though all of the leadership to include the board of directors is complicit in this,” she said. “In order for us to move forward and to actually heal, we need to do the right thing right now so … and focus on who’s gonna be crowned Miss America.”

Carlson, 52, denied the allegations in a lengthy statement directed to Mund and posted on Twitter late Sunday night.

“I want to be clear that I have never bullied or silenced you,” she wrote, adding that she was “surprised and saddened beyond words” about the allegations.

“I so wish Cara had picked up the phone and discussed her concerns with me directly, before going to the media,” she wrote.

Carlson then praised Mund for being an Ivy League graduate, then blasted her, blaming her for costing the pageant organization $75,000 in scholarship donations that are “no longer on the table as a direct result of the explosive allegations in your letter.”

And though a petition calling for her to step down now has some 20,000 signatures — and 27 state pageant organizations have called for her ouster — Carlson showed no signs of quitting.

Mund alleged that Carlson and Regina Hopper, the pageant’s CEO, “reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis.”

Pageant honchos regularly criticized her clothes, called her “Kira” in front of contestants and one-upped her in front of the camera — even cutting her appearance at next month’s pageant to 30 seconds, she said.

One of the petition signers, Miss America 1988, Kate Shindle, wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “The board members are clearly unable to control their chair. Time for a change.”

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