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North Dakota's Cara Mund, current Miss America, blasts pageant organization in letter

Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, from North Dakota, reacts Sept. 10, 2017, after she was crowned at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Thomas P. Costello / Asbury Park Press via USA Today Network

FARGO — The first North Dakotan crowned Miss America, Cara Mund, is striking out at the Miss America Organization in a letter circulating online Friday, Aug. 17.

In it, the Bismarck woman said Gretchen Carlson, a Minnesotan crowned Miss America in 1985 and head of the organization, is largely to blame.

“Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis,” Mund said in the letter to current and former titleholders that was leaked online.

The Forum couldn’t reach Mund for comment Friday morning. Miss America Organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Mund said the organization has treated her with disrespect by excluding her as a representative and spokesperson.

“Right away, the new leadership delivered an important message: There will be only one Miss America at a time, and she isn’t me. To reinforce this, they told me that I’m not important enough to do big interviews, and that the major press is ‘obviously’ reserved for Gretchen.”

Mund said she was told she needed to mention three things at every interview she did: Carlson started the #MeToo movement; Carlson went to Stanford University; and Miss America remains relevant.

Mund said in the letter she has been blamed for sponsors dropping Miss America because she is “bad at social media,” and that she has been banned from posting on the organization’s official social media pages and accounts.

Mund’s comments come just weeks before the 2019 Miss America competition will take place Sunday, Sept. 9.

The letter is addressed to Mund’s “Miss America Sisters.” In it, she said she wanted to clarify critical comments she made in a story that was published earlier this month in the Press of Atlantic City newspaper.

“As I expected, the retribution was swift. Within 72 hours, I was told my final farewell as Miss America would be cut to a total of 30 seconds for the national telecast. Not only are they dictating my final appearance, but they are also reducing my final words,” Mund said.

Mund said she hasn’t felt like Miss America for the past eight months, adding change needs to happen.

“I never expected — or wanted — to have to be a whistleblower. I am so saddened that the board seems more inclined to look the other way than to speak out. I ask you for your help, support, and voices, because I have no doubt that without them, the leadership will simply continue to push out, silence, and tighten security to reduce access around Miss America. Miss America is fragile right now. She needs all of us if she is going to survive.”

Mund said Miss America’s rhetoric about empowering women and openness is “great” — however, the reality she has lived the past year has been “quite different.”

The full letter, allegedly written by Mund, can be seen below.

Cara Mund Letter by inforumdocs on Scribd

Tracy Briggs

Tracy Briggs is a former TV anchor/radio host currently working as a features writer and video host for Forum Communications.

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