Actress/Singer Vanessa Williams reunited with the Miss America Pageant last night as she returned as a judge after being forced to give up her crown over 30 years ago.
In 1983, Williams became the first African-American woman crowned Miss America, but seven weeks before the end of her reign, a scandal arose after unauthorized nude photographs of Williams where published in Penthouse.
The show opened Sunday night with Miss America CEO Sam Haskell issuing a public apology to Williams, as well as her mother Helen for the embarrassment they each suffered back when Williams resigned her post as Miss America.
Haskell noted that while none of the execs with the pageant today were in office when Vanessa was forced to lose her crown, he still wanted to apologize for, “anything that was said or done” to her in 1984.
Watch video of the apology Williams received from the Miss America organization below…
VIDEO: Miss America Organizers Apologize to Vanessa Williams
“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for thirty two years. You have lived your life with grace and dignity and never was it more evident during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organization were involved in it, on behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize for anything that was said and done to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams.”
The camera then cut to Vanessa’s 75 year-old mother in the audience.
“I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America that you are and Miss America you always will be.”
Williams has often spoken about how the scandal changed her life but she persevered and became a success in music and film despite the set back.
While in today’s culture, Wiliams’ girl on girl photos would be considered tame but back in 1983, it was a different period.
Whatever the case, the organizers have publicly smoothed things over with the disgraced beauty queen and her legacy has not been cleared.