Miss USA Lets It Rip in Resignation Letter

She accuses CEO and President Laylah Rose of creating a toxic work environment
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2024 7:48 AM CDT
Miss USA Lets Accusations Fly in Resignation Letter
Miss USA Noelia Voigt competes in the national costume competition at the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in San Salvador, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.   (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

We no longer have to read between the lines to understand why Miss USA Noelia Voigt suddenly resigned this week. The first title holder in the pageant's history to voluntarily step down accuses Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose of disparaging her and ignoring a case of sexual harassment in a resignation later obtained by NBC News. "There is a toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment," the 24-year-old writes. She claims Rose, who began running the organization last year, was often uncommunicative, "cold and unnecessarily aggressive," at one point telling someone "she hoped I would get hit in the face by a baseball at an event where I would throw out the first pitch."

Voigt says she was constantly threatened with disciplinary action, "including taking away my salary, for things that were never discussed with me and, if it related to a public-facing post for example, were causing no issue other than not meeting her personal preference." Voigt also refers to an alleged case of sexual harassment at an event in Florida. She says she was left alone in a car with a man who "made several inappropriate statements to me about his desire to enter into a relationship with me." She says Rose later told her engaging with others at public appearances was part of Miss USA's role. Voigt claims the stress of all this aggravated a pre-existing condition and she is now experiencing "heart palpitations, full body shakes, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, loss of sleep, loss of hair, and more."

In a statement, Rose says "I take these allegations seriously" and "the well-being of all individuals associated with Miss USA is my top priority." Rose also bullied and harassed Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, who resigned two days after Voigt, sources tell the New York Post. The outlet claims the abuse reached a point that Srivastava's parents refused to allow Rose to speak with their daughter. Rose had allegedly been posting under the title holders' names on social media, among other things. Voigt, Srivastava, and Miss USA social media manager Claudia Michelle, who resigned May 3 citing "workplace toxicity and bullying," decided they would quit as a group in protest, per the Post. (More Miss USA stories.)

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