Gretchen Carlson steps down as Miss America chairwoman
© Greg Nash

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson will step down as board chairwoman from the Miss American Organization, the Associated Press reported.

Carlson, the 1989 Miss America, worked to eliminate the pageant’s swimsuit competition, replacing the event with time for contestants to speak about themselves, their goals and serving their communities.

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"When I was asked to take this volunteer position over a year ago, I dedicated myself to helping the organization build on its history while working to secure its future, and am extremely proud of the work we have collectively done," Carlson said, according to the AP. “With a promising network partnership, the time is ideal to give new leadership the opportunity to move forward with what has been accomplished. Miss America will always be a part of who I am and I will enthusiastically watch as the organization continues to grow and succeed."

Carlson joined the board with an entirely female leadership team after emails revealed male leaders of the organization disparaging former Miss Americas’ appearance, intelligence and personal lives.

Regina Hopper, the Miss America CEO, thanked Carlson for her modern vision for the organization.

"We are grateful for the talents, expertise and time Gretchen gave to move this organization to relevancy, diversity and inclusion for a new generation of young women,” Hopper said. “We are thrilled she will continue to move this transition forward as an adviser to the board as we work toward a successful Miss America 2020 on NBC, and the 100th anniversary of this American icon in 2021."

Carlson's contract with Fox News was not renewed in June 2016, with the network citing low ratings around her 2 p.m. weekday news program.

She proceeded to file a lawsuit against then-Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, which led to his resignation less than three weeks later following an internal investigation by the outside law firm Paul, Weiss. 

The former 1989 Miss America did not sue Fox News, instead opting to take legal action directly against Ailes to avoid arbitration. 

The parent company of Fox News, 21st Century Fox, reportedly reached a settlement with Carlson in September 2016 for approximately $20 million.

Carlson currently serves as a columnist for Time magazine after signing with the magazine in 2017. 

The former "Fox & Friends" co-host also launched a two-hour Lifetime documentary, “Gretchen Carlson: Breaking the Silence,” that focused on sexual harassment that women face in the workplace.