The director of the beauty contest Mrs America has been accused of racism by several contestants in the competition, and one of them said that she was told that "black women should stop having babies and have four baby dads".
Four 2018 participants of Ms. America say that David Marmel, executive director and co-founder of the contest, made a series of racist generalizations in this year's contest in Las Vegas.
One woman alleged that Marmel suggested that black men were "drug dealers" who were "killing" themselves, while another participant said Marmel told him that "black men are criminals who should stop shooting each other."
Marmel, the executive director of Mrs. America who co-founded the competition in 1978, denied making racial and insensitive comments.
He said some of his comments had been taken out of context during "what was agreed that it would be a confidential session in which we would consider our collective experiences."
Speaking at a press conference with women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred in New York City, Ms. Crissy Timpson's contestant said that Marmel issued a series of comments on racial charges in two separate conversations in the Ms. America's contest in August 2018.
She said that during a meeting at Marmel's office, she said, apparently in reference to Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who protested the police brutality during the national anthem, that "the imbecile must stop disrespecting my flag "
Timpson, who is black, said he told Marmel that Kaepernick was not disrespecting the flag.
"David changed the subject and said:" Well, you need to stop killing each other, we need people to raise the black community, "he said.
"He told me that:" Black women need to stop having babies and have four baby dads, their men are drug dealers, imprisoned, in jail, receiving social assistance and killing each other. "
Timpson appeared with contestants Brandy Palacios, Kimberley Phillips and Jeri Ward on Monday. The other three women shared similar stories about Marmel's behavior in the contest.
Allred, who has been a women's lawyer since the 1970s, recently representing some of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, said she had been "surprised" to hear Ms. America's participants claiming they had been subjected to "racial insensitivity" comments ".
"They feel it is their duty to share what they claim based on their experience, because they do not want next year's participants to be subjected to what they consider to be racially offensive and degrading comments," Allred said.
Timpson, Palacios, Phillips and Ward were competing in the Mrs America tournament after winning each of their own beauty pageants throughout the state. It cost each of the women $ 1200 to compete in the national contest, and the four said they had spent thousands more on travel, clothes and treatments.
Allred said the women had no "plans" to file a lawsuit or seek damages.
"We ask [Marmel] "To recognize what they claim he said, take responsibility and apologize to them," Allred said.
Timpson, Palacios, Phillips and Ward also want Marmel to undergo sensitivity training "focused on the subject of racial prejudice and racial stereotypes," Allred said, "so that what they claim they were subjected to never happen again." .
Recalling the conversations, Marmel said he conveyed his experience as a Jewish baseball player who was subjected, along with African-American teammates, to crowd abuse. The women had complained that Marmel had used the "n word" when recalling a signal he had seen at a baseball game, which he confirmed.
"So they confuse it with my insult, since some kind of epithet is disgusting and says something about them."
Marmel said he had founded the annual American Black Achievement Awards, which he said had highlighted the achievement of blacks. He denied having made the statements listed by Timpson, specifically that he said "that's nonsense," and said he would not apologize or receive training as the women requested.
"Based on my career and what I've done for the African-American community, does it sound like I need sensitivity training?"
The Marmel America contest is the second incarnation of the contest. The original Mrs. America, initiated by the East Coast advertising guru, Burt Nevins, began in 1938, originally as a ruse to lure people to the New Jersey boardwalk, and ran until her death in 1968, according to an exhaustive article by Jezebel.
Marmel revived the contest in 1976, and the contest has taken place every year since then. This year's contest, which was held to decide who would be Mrs. America 2019, was held in Las Vegas in August. It was won by Nicole Cook of Illinois.