Maude Gorman, a contestant in the Miss Massachusetts pageant, gave up her title after a pageant skit mocked the #MeToo movement.
This pageant queen is using her platform for good.
Maude Gorman, a contestant in the Miss Massachusetts pageant earlier this month, gave up her local title and crown after a contest skit made light of the #MeToo movement.
“I needed to take a stand, but I didn’t think that just taking a stand was enough,” she said. “I needed to show people that I was willing to give up something I had worked hard for, and show people that mocking a movement that has empowered women to speak up and share their stories is not okay.”
The 24-year-old announced that she was stepping down as Miss Plymouth County 2018 and returning her crown last week in an Instagram post that read: “Today, I officially resigned from the title of Miss Plymouth County 2018. While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts.”
Today, I officially resigned from the title of Miss Plymouth County 2018. While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply “let this go”. Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING. #metoo #missplymouthcounty #nomore #rainn #surviveandthrive
Of the distasteful joke, Gorman said that it took place right before the final event of the competition. “The emcee took that time upon herself to make a skit,” she said. “It was clear that it was a direct correlation to the #MeToo movement. The audience erupted in laughter after, but you could see that there were some people like me that were in complete disbelief.”
In a video of the June 30th skit posted by the Observer last week, a woman can be heard saying, “We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting. And I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.”
Another person dressed as God is then heard responding: “Me too, Amy,” as they hold up a #MeToo sign.
Gorman, a sexual assault survivor who was raped at 13, told Moneyish that the joke made her “upset” and was “disheartening.” She thinks that her decision to give up her title has gotten so much attention because she was “trying to do the right thing.”
The #MeToo movement has seen at least 414 high up executives and employees accused of sexual misconduct in the past 18 months, according to data from a New York-based crisis consulting firm, as reported by Time; 190 were fired or left their employer, and another 122 were suspended, put on leave or are being investigated. Out of the 414 accused, only seven are women.
For Gorman, who has been participating in pageants since 17 and was crowned 2016’s Miss World Massachusetts, sharing her story and advocating for sexual assault survivors has been an integral part of her pageant career. In addition to speaking at conferences and advocating to local mayors and state governors, the Hingham, Mass. native also spends time working at shelters for abuse survivors. She is also currently fighting for the passage of a bill that would require every university and college in Massachusetts to have anonymous climate surveys.
Following the incident, The Miss Massachusetts organization posted an apology on Facebook that read: “The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night’s skit. The skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the board. Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed.”
This comes after the Miss America Pageant announced that it would end its swimsuit portion of the competition last month, and following the resignation of the organization’s former executive director Sam Haskell and president Josh Randle over leaked emails in which the two insulted pageant winners’ appearances and sex lives.
While Gorman said she is done participating in pageants, she still has plenty of impressive future plans. “I am planning a college tour to speak out for sexual assault awareness, and will continue to travel to be a public advocate and motivational speaker,” she said. She is also part of the U.S. Skyrunning team (an extreme sport that requires competitors to scale the highest peaks in the shortest amount of time) that will compete in Scotland in September, in addition to being a U.S. coast guard auxiliary member and a MariCorp alum.
“I plan to break down barriers and continue to be a voice for others while serving our community,” she said.
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