It happened at the very beginning of the show when Miss America CEO Sam Haskell apologized to Williams and her mother Helen. Haskell noted that while none of the execs still with the pageant forced Vanessa to lose her crown, he still wanted to apologize for, “anything that was said or done” to her in 1984.
“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years,” CEO Sam Haskell told Williams. “You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned.
“Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams,” Haskell said. “I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.”
For those old enough to remember and those who aren’t, Williams was awarded the crown in 1983 and held it for 10 months, when all hell broke loose after Penthouse magazine published nude photos of Williams with another female that were taken before her reign.
Williams resigned the title, but it was heavily rumored that the Miss America Organization forced her to give up her crown.
In any event, after the apology, she went to the judges table and helped pick a winner who turned out to be 21-year-old Betty Cantrell of Georgia.
— Miss America Org (@MissAmericaOrg) September 14, 2015