Miss USA and Miss Teen USA were ‘abused’ and ‘bullied,’ moms say – USA TODAY

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The mothers of the former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are speaking out on their behalf.

In an interview that aired Tuesday on “Good Morning America,” Jackeline Voigt, mother of Noelia Voigt, and Barbara Srivastava, mother of UmaSofia Srivastava, discussed their daughters’ shock decisions to step down as Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, respectively. They said that confidentiality clauses are preventing their daughters from speaking themselves.

“The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare,” Srivastava said, going on to add, “They were ill-treated, abused, bullied, and cornered.”

Noelia Voigt made the shock decision to step down as Miss USA earlier this month.

Voigt announced she was relinquishing her crown in a statement on May 6, citing the need to prioritize her mental health. Days later, Srivastava also resigned and said that her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

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But after fans noticed that taking the first letters of each sentence in Voigt’s social media statement revealed the phrase “I AM SILENCED,” NBC News obtained her resignation letter. In it, she reportedly alleged that there is a “toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment.” She also alleged she was sexually harassed at a Christmas event and that the organization failed to take the incident seriously, according to NBC News.

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Former Miss USA staffersays organization caused pageant winners’ mental health to decline

On “Good Morning America,” Voigt’s mother said that her daughter was “so stressed out” after a man at this event made her “very uncomfortable” by asking if she was “into old men with money.” Jackeline Voigt added that the Miss USA Organization failed to support her daughter after the incident or express any sympathy.

When asked if the “I Am Silenced” message was intentional, Jackeline Voigt declined to say, but added that her daughter “is” currently silenced “and will be the rest of her life if this NDA” is not lifted. “The girls need to speak,” she added.

Did Miss USA Noelia Voigt’sresignation statement contain a hidden message?

Jackeline Voigt and Barbara Srivastava also both called for Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose to resign, warning others to “really pay attention” to what happened to their daughters and stay away from the pageants.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Miss USA Organization for comment. Rose previously said in a statement to USA TODAY, “Our all-encompassing goal at Miss USA is to celebrate and empower women. Our participants make a real difference in this country and around the globe.”

On Sunday, Stephanie Skinner, the runner-up in the Miss Teen USA competition, revealed she is declining an invitation to replace Srivastava. “Although I do not know exactly what Noelia and Uma went through to lead them to resign, I am sending them immense love and support,” she said.

The CW Network also said this week it is “evaluating its relationship with” the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants “in light of the events of last week.”

Contributing: Erin Jensen, Naledi Ushe and Taijuan Moorman, USA TODAY

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