The billboards that hit Gretchen Carlson, the president of the Miss America Organization, as a liar, a bully and "so false" project an uncomfortable shadow on the second night of the parade.
The signs appeared around Atlantic City, where the parade takes place, on Thursday morning, referring to the claims of Miss America's most recent winner, Cara Mund, who accused Carlson and the director general of the organization, Regina. Hopper, of having intimidated and silenced her during her reign.
As of Thursday night, no one has been responsible for the signs, which were hung from the traffic lights, were placed at bus stops and stuck to public service boxes.
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On Thursday morning advertising posters were placed that crushed Miss America President Gretchen Carlson (left) as a liar, intimidating and "so false" in Atlantic City, New Jersey, referring to the claims of the current Miss America Cara Mund (right), who accused Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper of intimidating and silencing her
The signs overshadowed the second night of the Miss America 2019 contest (above)
When asked about billboards, Carlson, a former Fox News anchor and former Miss America, said she had no comments.
Both she and Hopper have repeatedly denied the harassment of Mund.
The signs seem to parody Carlson's book Be Fierce & # 39; They include the same photo of her that appears on the cover of her book, but with the words "So Fake" and "Private Bully, Public Liar."
In addition, someone hung a strip of the contest on the statue of Miss America outside of Boardwalk Hall, where the competition takes place, which says "Gretchen Sucks."
This year's parade takes place in the midst of a revolt of state organizations, most of which want Carlson and Hopper to resign.
Forty-six of the 51 groups (the District of Columbia is included) have signed letters seeking resignation.
They are not happy with the way in which the decision was made to eliminate the swimsuit competition of the contest, among other issues.
Both Carlson and Hopper (in the photo of August 30) have repeatedly denied Mund's intimidation.
Cara Mund of North Dakota was crowned Miss America 2018 last year (photo above)
The protest threatened to overshadow the second night of preliminaries on Thursday night.
The first night, Wednesday, was free of any reference to the controversy when Mund and Carlson took the stage to present the 51 aspirants this year.
The current Miss America made no reference to the controversy over leadership in its opening remarks, but paid tribute to local and state officials without mentioning nationals.
"This only exists thanks to our volunteers," he said. "We would not have any organization if it were not for them."
She said she was confident that whoever wins the competition this year will be 100% prepared and supported throughout the year.
Mund spent most of her time intervening by diverting questions about her letter of August 17 that criticized the leadership of the contest and said: "It's all about women competing and we're here to celebrate their achievements."
When asked about the letter, Mund said: "I think my letter says, At the same time, I am a product of this organization and I am very grateful for that, I will be able to go to law school because of the scholarship money. I got from this organization. "
Carlson and Hopper separately refused to answer questions after the ceremony.
On Thursday, a lawyer representing Mund said the Miss America Organization had told him he was conducting an internal investigation into Mund's accusations that included, in his words, "bullying and a corrosive work environment." In a letter to the lawyers of the organization, the lawyer Roger Haber urged that the results be made public.
Contestants take the stage during the second night of preliminary competition in the Miss America contest on Thursday in Atlantic City
Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, left, performs an interview on stage with Miss Florida Taylor Tyson during the second night of preliminary competition on Thursday
Miss Florida Taylor Tyson, left, and Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei, on the right, speak to the media after their respective victories in the talent competitions and interviews on Wednesday's stage
The 51 contestants are represented before this year's competition, which ends on Sunday evening
The winners of the Thursday night competition were Miss Virginia Emili McPhail, who won the interview part on stage, and Miss Louisiana Holli & # 39; Conway, who won the talent portion for a vocal performance.
The contestants from Florida and Wisconsin won Wednesday on the first night of the preliminary competition.
Miss Florida Taylor Tyson won the talent show for a piano performance of & # 39; Mephisto & # 39; s Waltz & # 39; from Lizst.
Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei won the on-stage interview competition for her comments on how higher education should be more affordable and more accessible.
Scholarships will be awarded for a total of almost $ 506,000, including $ 50,000 for the new Miss America; $ 25,000 for the first finalist; $ 20,000 for the second finalist; $ 15,000 for the third finalist and $ 10,000 for the fourth finalist.
The third and final night of preliminaries will be held on Friday.
The next Miss America will be crowned Sunday night in Atlantic City.