When Atlantic City celebrated the arrival of 51 Miss America contenders on Thursday, one band played the classic Bell Biv DeVoe song "Poison".
"It's oh so beautiful / relationships they have from the beginning," sang a singer who reflects Ricky Bell's most famous line. "It's all so deadly / if love is not heartfelt."
The text had the inadvertent effect of highlighting the gulf that tore the pageant.
Sitting in a camp was Miss America 2018, Cara Mund, and her mother, Delora Kautzmann-Mund, who made the journey from North Dakota
In another, was Gretchen Carlson, chair of the Miss America Board of Trustees, and Regina Hopper , CEO of the Miss America Organization. Both managers ̵
But the swimsuits were not the only sore spot for critics of the decision.
Earlier this month, Mund, 24, sent a detailed letter to a group of former Miss Americas claiming that Carlson, Hopper, and the leadership of Miss America had bullied, silenced, and disrespected her for months. Carlson contradicted her claims.
The new candidates, including Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, crowded the Kennedy Plaza boardwalk, wearing no crowns, and wore new black and white umbrellas aiming for a "Miss America 2.0" rebranding. As the 95-degree heat melted her make-up, the chestnut mouth, whose crown sparkled in the punishing sun, flashed her beaming smile.
"There it is," Carlson said, addressing the crowd with the "vision" of the procession. Statement. "Miss Neurosurgeon, Miss Social Activist, Miss Jet Pilot, Miss Investigative Journalist, Miss Expert Coder, Miss CEO, Miss, whatever she wants to be." "It said differently, and you will love it."
Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam spoke like a true pageant fan.
"Atlantic City is not a city without Miss America," he said.
But beneath that gleaming surface, tension continued to build.
Shortly before the scheduled ceremony on Thursday, a lawyer from Mund sent a letter to a pageant lawyer firing the last shot in the Miss America feud, the Consuming the event in Atlantic City. (The pageant will be broadcast live from Boardwalk Hall on September 9. The preliminary competition will begin after Labor Day.)
A note by Carlson, Hopper and the board of directors on August 24 said that an internal review of Mund's allegations would be conducted "with a neutral outside intermediary."
The last letter, written by Roger Haber, Mund's lawyer, who was sent to the pageant lawyer, said his company was contacted on Tuesday for review Representative called a "neutral and confidential investigation" investigation of claims in Munds letter.
Haber said that Mund's letter described a "corrosive work environment" for ruling Miss America. But he objected to the claim of confidentiality of the investigation, as the person contacting Haber said the Miss America organization would then be free to release the results.
"If you independently determine the results in favor of the MAO (Miss America Organization), you will publish those results," wrote Haber. "Conversely, if you favor Ms. Mund, I suspect that the changes in the findings of the daylight are almost zero."
Haber asked Carlson and Hopper to give up their duties temporarily for the investigation and demanded that the pageant appoint an independent law firm to conduct the review and that the results be published.
The Miss America leadership is trying to "harass my clients into a quick and unfavorable outcome for them," he wrote. He said he suggested planning a meeting for the review after the party is over on September 9, but the organization now demands that the investigation be completed by this weekend before the official week officially begins.
Read the Letter from Miss America Lawyer
When asked about her lawyer's writing at the ceremony, Mund, who had described herself as a whistleblower, rarely let her Permasmile disappear. She insisted on drawing attention to the participants in this year's competition.
"I just want it to be the best possible experience for the new Miss America," she said, this time again for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of the pageant (in 1921).
"I'm very grateful for the support I had, but this week is all about our 51 women," she said.
Mouth is far from the only one who has spoken out against the current pageant. In recent weeks, a group of 19 former Miss Americas have petitioned for the resignation of Hopper and Carlson, claiming they mislead the Miss America Board as to why bathing suits could no longer be part of the procession.
Prior to this, 22 state directors were seeking the resignation of Carlson, Hopper and the entire board.
Amy Kuperinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ AmyKup or on Facebook.