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'I Was Gang Raped When I Was 13': Beauty Contestant Resigns Crown Over #MeToo Joke

07-10-2018

Miss Massachusetts contestant Maude Gorman turned in her tiara after a skit poking fun at the #MeToo movement was featured in the pageant earlier this month.

Gorman, 24, announced in an Instagram post that she resigned her title as Miss Plymouth County after the conclusion of the competition.

In the skit, a pageant contestant tells a man dressed as God that she doesn't understand why the swimsuit competition had to end, referring to the cancellation of the Miss America swimsuit competition.  "Me too, Amy," replies God, while holding a #MeToo sign.

For Gorman, a member of the Coast Guard auxiliaries, and a teacher, the skit was no laughing matter.

While the audience cheered and laughed at the joke, Gorman was standing backstage horrified.

"I was gang-raped when I was 13 years old and I kept that a secret for three and a half years," Gorman said in an interview with WCVB Channel 5 Boston.

She later announced on Instagram that she was dropping out of the competition saying, "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.'"

Gorman told NBC Boston that she felt,"betrayed," by the prank.  "To mock a movement that has empowered survivors to stand up is inappropriate, and especially a women's empowerment organization should be unacceptable."

The Miss Massachusetts organization posted an apology for the incident on its Facebook page.

"The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night's skit," reads the post.  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. We are proud of our contestants and even prouder to be part of an organization that celebrates what makes all of them truly extraordinary." 

The writer of the script also apologized.

"I would like to set the record straight about the skit I participated in during the Miss Massachusetts finals," said Rich Allegretto.  "First and most importantly, our sincere apologies to those who drew any parallels between a joke about the swimsuit competition and sexual assault. The skit was meant as a satirical poke at those who are upset that swimsuit is going away. It was intended to be a nod to the #MeToo movement, not a knock on it."

Meanwhile, many are applauding Gorman, who had used her pageant platform to speak out about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. 

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