Black women vying for the “Mrs. America” beauty pageant title say they were subjected to racist taunts by its owner, who likened them to whores who have multiple babies by multiple men.
Four finalists say back in August during a summer showcase in Las Vegas, the pageant owner David Marmel referred to Black women as n*ggers and made derogatory remarks about black women and promiscuity, according to reports. Three of the women are Black, one is white.
“He told me that, ‘You black women need to stop having babies and four baby daddies,” said Mrs. New Jersey Crissy Timpson said in an interview with the NY Daily News. “Your men are drug dealers, incarcerated, in jail, you are on welfare and killing each other.”
Mrs. Missouri Brandy Pelacios, one of seven black contestants in this year’s pageant, also said Marmel went on a tirade about the NFL kneeling protests and called the players disrespectful for invoking their free rights.
“He said that when he played baseball in the ’60s, he was down in Alabama and Florida and there were signs that read no Jews or n—ers allowed,” Pelacios said.
The women are being represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, who said they don’t intend to sue right now but simply want an apology for their treatment. When asked if the women thought Marmel was a racist, Allread said:
“They have described the comments that they allege that they have heard,” Allred said. “They are not here to call anyone a name. Stereotypes are very harmful because they assume everyone is the same, and everyone is not the same.”
“They simply want the Mrs. America pageant to be a place where everyone is respected, is treated equally and feels safe,” Allred said.
Shawn Marshall, vice president of the Mrs. America organization, defended Marmel and said didn’t use offensive language.
And according to the Associated Press, Marshall said the women had asked Marmel to speak to them.
“If there’s an apology, they owe Mr. Marmel,” he said.