Former Miss America speaks out after leaders resign over derogatory emails

Mallory Hagan talks to "GMA" about the emails that took aim at her and other pageant contestants, rocking the Miss America organization.
6:28 | 12/26/17

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Transcript for Former Miss America speaks out after leaders resign over derogatory emails
And an abacus. Now to that scandal rocking the miss America organization. E-mails were leaked. Now we'll tk to Mallory Hagan standing by in her home in Alabama but first ABC's Linzie Janis joins us with more. Linzie, good morning to you. Reporter: Those leaked e-mails, some of which are too vulgar to share used demeaning and misogynistic language to refer to past winners and a group of them demanded resignations. The CEO and two others have stepped down but that may not be enough. ??? There she is miss America ??? Reporter: There she is, or there she was. This morning the future of miss America up in the air. As the organization reels from an e-mail scandal in its upper ranks. That scandal beginning when the Huffington post published leaked e-mails from Sam Haskell exposing crude and demeaning comments about contestants like 1998 miss America Kate Shindle. Right now there is an opportunity for a graceful transition. Reporter: And 2013 miss America Mallory Hagan. Miss New York. Reporter: Who was belittled about her love life and weight. Having someone bully you, belittle you, demean you, degrade you in any way is not okay. No matter what. Miss Virginia. Reporter: At least one former miss America didn't find the scandal shocking. Caressa Cameron says she found the miss America organization to be a toxic working environment. After giving up my crown I didn't go back to the miss America pageant for five years just because I was so hurt by the way I was treated. Reporter: The fallout for the 96-year-old pageant has been fast and furious. Television producing partner Dick Clark productions cut ties with miss America calling the e-mails appalling and dozens of former winners signed a petition calling on the group's leadership to step down. That demand now granted. Forced out are CEO Sam Haskell. Hi, I'm Sam Haskell. Reporter: Board chairman Lynn widener and coo Josh Randle who says the e-mails predate his employment but adds, it does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at the miss America organization. CEO Sam Haskell tells ABC the e-mails are conveniently edited and the events are not as described. Those 49 former miss America winners are calling the resignations reassuring but say the organization's entire board should step down and in a statement saying the women of miss America are determined to take back our program. This is not over yet. Linzie, thank you for your reporting and we want to move on and joined by former miss America Mallory Hagan, who as mentioned was a target of many of those e-mails. Mallory, we want to thank you for joining us this Tuesday morning. First and foremost, in these e-mails there were a lot of derogatory comments made specifically about your size, our sex life, did you ever witness or experience this kind of toxicity when you were miss America or affiliated with the organization? You know, now that I think about it, I didn't experience it personally but I did hear about other miss Americas in this way and I didn't put two and two together in that moment but hindsight is always 20/20 but, yes that was used about other miss Americas while I was miss America, so it really shouldn't have surprised me but hindsight is 20/20. You heard some of the apologies from the executives. Do you accept those apologies? You know, I'm not really sure I did hear an apology. I did see that Josh Randle said he apologizes for his behavior and for that I guess I'm grateful but in the other statements that I saw I'm not seeing really an apology there, but that's not really the point here. At this point those people are no longer affiliated with miss America and we want to focus on the future. For years there's been a lot of criticism that the miss America organization has been antiquated or out of date. Does this signal the demise or the reinvention of miss America? I hope it signals the reinvention. I've been a standard for others and my platform was called stop it now, child sexual abuse and advocated for others in situations of abuse and here I am finding myself in a situation over the last four years where I didn't know how to advocate for myself. Brent Adams stood up for all of these women. I hope this is a turning point for that reason alone, we're learning we can stand up for others. He stood up for us and we band together to save our program so I think this is an opportunity to see how women can come together, support each other, rise up, take over the things they want to see happen and move forward, so I'm really hoping what people see is these women are empowered and work together. You talk about the women being empowered and lifting one another up and moving forward. What does the future specifically look like? How will the organization change? I think there's a lot of conversation that's been happening behind the scenes. For many years from all of us about things we would like to see change and, unfortunately, the leadership in place was simply not open to it. So now we have an open door for former miss Americas, for long-term volunteers, for former state titleholders to come together and put together some ideas in order to help N just the pageant you see on the telecast but day-to-day lives of these state titleholders serving their states and communities on a daily basis, all ambassadors for children's network hospitals and a 365-day job, not just one day in the pageant so we have a lot of ideas. The future of the pageant to me is there are a multitude of people who run the organization via the board, it's diverse and includes former miss Americas and -- It's diverse -- An opportunity -- You said it's diverse but does that include gender diversity as well? Absolutely. I think that everyone has something to bring to the table, not just women should run a women's organization but I certainly think they should have a lot of the say so and that's not what we've seen. Mallory Hagan, thanks for joining us. She thinks the future looks bright for miss America. Demise or reinvention, interesting to watch. Thank you, Paula.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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