Miss America rethink on `women with a past'
Monday 20 September 1999
As well as her crown, Heather Renee French, the daughter of a disabled Vietnam veteran, won a $40,000 (pounds 25,000) scholarship for college fees and the obligation to travel the country promoting her chosen cause: the plight of homeless war veterans. Last year's Miss America, Nicole Johnson, a diabetic, raised more than $12m (pounds 7.4m) for diabetes research.
The swimsuit rule had been relaxed to allow two-pieces of the contestants' choice - previously, the swimsuits were selected by the organisers to maintain a certain modesty standard, and last year's winner expressed concern that this year's crop verged on being too revealing.
But the swimsuit controversy was a mere spat compared with the row generated by the decision of the Miss America Organisation to drop a 50-year-old ban on divorced women and those who have had an abortion.
The announcement, a week before this year's contest, was met by a torrent of protest. Miss America, they said, was supposed to represent an ideal and, as Nicole Johnson said: "Miss means Miss."
Some of the most outspoken opinions were expressed by the organisers in Kentucky, one of the more socially and politically conservative states in the US, which produced Ms French, 24, this year's winner. Threatened with legal action, the organisers have now placed the rule change on hold.
- 2 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Central Lon...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers requi...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Technology needed for a Outsta...