Miss USA boss denies harassment and abuse allegations from former titleholders

The chief executive of the Miss USA Organization has responded to allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and toxic working conditions at the organization that were made weeks ago when the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders both resigned.

“We are very disappointed to hear the recent false allegations made by individuals speaking on behalf of our former titleholder,” chief executive Laylah Rose wrote in a statement obtained Friday by The Times.

“The allegations of sexual harassment, toxic environment and bullying are not true. To be clear, such behavior is not accepted, and we can assure you that if such behavior ever occurred, we would take immediate steps to protect our titleholder and provide access to appropriate resources,” Rose’s statement said.

Her open letter came as a stark countering of the claims made earlier this month by the former titleholders and their mothers.

Former Miss USA Noelia Voigt, 24, announced her resignation via Instagram on May 6. In a leaked resignation letter, the 2024 titleholder accused the Miss USA Organization of having a “toxic work environment” where she experienced “at best … poor management and, at worst … bullying and harassment.” According to CNN, which obtained the letter, the pageant queen accused Rose of “slandering” her and calling her “mentally ill” in conversations with people outside of the organization. She also said Rose was “aggressive” and threatened to withhold her salary.

Separately, former Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, who announced her resignation days after Voigt, also said that her personal values “no longer fully align with the direction” of the organization.

Both women alleged that they signed nondisclosure agreements with the Miss USA Organization and were limited in what they could include in their public statements, so their mothers spoke to “Good Morning America” on May 14 on their behalf.

“The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare,” Barbara Srivastava said. “We could not continue this charade. The girls decided to step down and give [up] their dream of a lifetime — a crown, a national title. Why would two girls decide to give that up?”

Jackeline Voigt also described a situation in which she said her daughter was sexually harassed at an official Miss USA appearance and was not provided adequate security to protect her. Rose allegedly told her that harassment is “part of the role.”

Rose appeared to blame Voigt for the issues, writing in her statement that “the suggestions of a lack of communication and support for the prior titleholder are likewise false.”

“[W]e provided constant communication about events and procedures and provided access to all of the services needed, much of which went ignored or unused by our titleholder,” she said.

Rose additionally alleged that the pageant queen was ignoring her official duties.

“We also arranged many events (always with a chaperone) to which she was invited to showcase her achievements and highlight her ‘passion’ projects, many of which our titleholder canceled at the last minute and without good reason,” Rose’s statement read.

Voigt hit back Thursday against Rose’s “unequivocally inaccurate” claims, writing on Instagram that she is “constrained” by a nondisclosure agreement and strongly encouraged Rose to waive it.

“I … would like to emphatically assert that, following the unauthorized circulation of my resignation letter, Laylah Roses’ [sic] assertions in her recent statement that contradict my experience after three weeks of unanswered resignation notification are unequivocally inaccurate.”

Srivastava has not responded to Rose’s statement.

After Voigt’s resignation, her Miss USA 2024 title was passed to the runner-up, Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii. The role of Miss Teen USA remains unfilled.

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