Vanessa Williams Receives Apology From Miss America Organization

Entertainment | Camille Travis | 09/14/2015 | 10:00 AM EDT

Executive chairman Sam Haskell issued the apology during Sunday night's event

It was an event more than three decades in the making, but Vanessa Williams was finally welcomed back to the Miss America pageant with a roaring standing ovation Sunday night.

 

Sam Haskell, executive chairman of the Miss America pageant, apologized to the 52-year-old star on behalf of his predecessors who handled her nude photo scandal in 1984. After becoming the first African-American to win Miss America, Williams was forced to resign due to the publishing of sexually explicit photos from Penthouse magazine.

 

"I want to apologize for anything that was said or done," Haskell said. "Vanessa, welcome back!"

 

Williams graciously accepted the apology and told reporters backstage: "I want to thank everyone who has come up to me over the past 32 years and said, 'You'll always be my Miss America,' I got a chance to be on the stage and represent what I represented back in 1984. Thank you so much for being so welcoming to me."

 

Later in the evening, Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was crowned Miss America 2016.

 

(Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)

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