Former Miss USA 2023 alleges toxic work environment in resignation letter

Noelia Voigt gave up her crown Monday and shared a statement on social media.

May 10, 2024, 1:29 PM

Former Miss USA 2023 Noelia Voigt alleged in an eight-page resignation letter obtained by ABC News on Friday that the Miss USA Organization cultivated a toxic work environment that led to her decision to step down.

Voigt resigned her title Monday, citing mental health.

"There is a toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment," Voigt wrote in the letter, in part. "This started soon after winning the title of Miss USA 2023."

Voigt named Laylah Rose, the president and CEO of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA organizations, in her resignation letter and claimed Rose "was generally inaccessible for communication," didn't offer her support, and allegedly "slandered [her]."

Voigt also claimed she was "made to feel unsafe" at events she attended as the Miss USA 2023 titleholder, which "culminated in being sexually harassed at the 2023 Sarasota Christmas Parade."

"At future events, the organization neglected its responsibility to provide a chaperone and/or traveling companion entirely, and I was alone," Voigt claimed.

PHOTO: Noelia Voigt attends "PEOPLE: Celebrating 50 Years" Exhibition Opening at Fotografiska New York on May 9, 2024 in New York City.
Noelia Voigt attends "PEOPLE: Celebrating 50 Years" Exhibition Opening at Fotografiska New York on May 9, 2024 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

In her resignation letter, Voigt claimed her experience after being named Miss USA in September 2023 took a toll on both her physical and mental health and led her to being diagnosed with anxiety, and prescribed medication and other treatments.

"It is important that I make this abundantly clear: the toll that this treatment, experience, and abuse has taken on me will have long-lasting impacts on my health," she wrote. "This is unfortunately not something that will magically disappear. I know the harsh reality of that fact, and I will not continue to allow myself to feel victimized anymore."

Overall, Voigt claimed in her resignation letter that she had "concern" for the Miss USA brand and alleged Rose "is also actively building a culture of fear and control, the antithesis of women's empowerment, that is causing a toxic workplace that is unsafe for future titleholders and employees."

"Good Morning America" has reached out to the Miss USA organization for comment on the claims in Voigt's letter.

Voigt announced she would resign and give up her crown in an Instagram post Monday, citing mental health.

"In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health," Voigt wrote in a lengthy statement at the time, in which she detailed her "favorite part of being Miss USA," which she said included "getting to work with Smile Train, being a fervent advocate for anti-bullying, dating violence awareness and prevention, immigration rights and reform, and shedding light on my roots as the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA."

She added that her "journey as Miss USA has been incredibly meaningful, representing Utah with pride, and later the USA at Miss Universe."

"I am grateful for the love and support of the fans, old and new, my family, my friends, my coaches, former state and local directors, and my darling beloved Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia [Srivastava]," she wrote.

The Miss USA Organization and Rose issued a response to Voigt's announcement on Monday, sharing a joint Instagram post and writing that they supported Voigt's decision to step down.

"We respect and support Noelia's decision to step down from her duties. The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time," the statement read in part. "We are currently reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities to a successor, and we will soon announce the crowning of the new Miss USA."

Umasofia Srivastava, Miss Teen USA 2023, also announced Wednesday that she was resigning from her position.

"After careful consideration, I've decided to resign as I find that my personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization," Srivastava wrote in part in her own Instagram post.

In a statement to USA Today on Wednesday, Rose said, "Our all-encompassing goal at Miss USA is to celebrate and empower women. Our participants make a real difference in this country and around the globe. All along, my personal goal as the head of this organization has been to inspire women to always create new dreams, have the courage to explore it all, and continue to preserve integrity along the way. I hold myself to these same high standards and I take these allegations seriously. Please be assured that the well-being of all individuals associated with Miss USA is my top priority."

A contingent of Miss USA 2023 contestants released a joint statement in support of Voigt on Thursday, which was shared on Instagram by Miss Wisconsin USA 2023 Alexis Loomans.

"Prioritizing one's mental health is of the utmost importance, and we stand behind her," the statement read in part.

The group also called on the Miss USA Organization to release Voigt from a confidentiality nondisclosure agreement within 24 hours "so that she is free to speak on her experiences and time as Miss USA."

"Our goal is to give Noelia her voice back. We are asking for full transparency for contestants in the class of 2024 and beyond," they wrote.

Following Voigt's resignation, Miss USA announced Thursday that Savannah Gankiewicz, Miss Hawaii USA and the first runner-up, would become the new 2023 titleholder.