By Amanda Watts and Madison Park, CNN
A beauty queen gave up her title after a skit was performed at the Miss Massachusetts competition that made fun of the #MeToo movement.
Maude Gorman was one of the contestants in the Miss Massachusetts pageant earlier this month, when a crack about #MeToo was made on stage.
Gorman, who said she was gang raped when she was 13, said the moment she heard the joke that she “instantly knew I had to do something. It was going to eat away at me if I didn’t,” she told CNN.
She resigned from her title of Miss Plymouth County 2018 last week, writing on Instagram: “While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply ‘let this go.'”
A video containing a portion of the controversial skit was posted by the Observer.
In what the Observer described as part of the comedy sketch, a woman is onstage, kneeling and talking about how Miss America has scrapped the swimsuit portion from its competition.
“Miss America did away with the swimsuit competition,” the woman says in the skit. “We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It’s very upsetting and I’m trying to understand, God, why it happened.”
“Me too, Amy,” replies a man whom the Observer described as dressed as God and holding a #MeToo sign.
The crowd cheers and laughs, and the skit continues.
Gorman said she was backstage when it happened.
“Nobody saw the skit because we were backstage, but we could all hear it,” she said, about the contestants. “I instantly knew I had to do something. It was going to eat away at me if I didn’t… we were all shocked. We said, ‘Oh my god. I cannot believe that just happened. Did that just really happen?'”
The Miss Massachusetts organization, which is preliminary to the Miss America Pageant, posted an apology on Facebook.
“The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night’s skit. The skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the board. Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed.”
‘Done with pageants’
When Gorman heard the joke, she said, “I wasn’t comfortable staying as Miss Plymouth County. It went against everything I have worked hard for. I was Miss Massachusetts World in 2015. I saw myself as a leader in the community and made appearances to speak out about sexual assault and tell my story.”
She said she was gang raped by three men at age 13, and that for three years, she kept it a secret as she suffered nightly from PTSD, couldn’t sleep and struggled at school.
“When I turned 16, I didn’t know where my life was headed and I was disappointed. And I felt like I was failed because the adults around me didn’t recognize the signs. I told my mom in the car and she knew something big was coming.”
Her mom got her the help she needed.
Since that time, Gorman said she graduated with honors, became an ultra runner and now promotes healthy, active lifestyles. She plans to speak out on a college tour to spread awareness about sexual assault.
Asked whether she would return to beauty pageants, Gorman replied: “I am done with pageants. I don’t see myself competing again. I am happy with leaving the pageant world behind me.