The controversial decision to scrap the swimsuit competition from the Miss America pageant has led to war among its hierarchy.
A total of 22 state pageant leaders are now seeking to oust Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Carlson, the former Fox News personality and 1989 Miss America winner, spoke to Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville in a June interview that followed the decision.
“We are no longer judging our candidates on their outward physical appearance," she said. "And we are no longer calling it a pageant — we're calling it a competition."
In the wake of the decision, four Miss America board members have quit, and even some Miss America titleholders are in open revolt.
Joining the rebellion is Allison DeMarcus, the executive director of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant.
"It was stated to us we can't have a telecast or we can have a swimsuit pageant," DeMarcus told “Good Morning America" Monday. "There was never any gray area in between."
With so many state pageants calling on her to resign, Carlson also appeared on "Good Morning America" Monday to defend herself.
"This was something the board had a spirited discussion about," she said. "Listen, we want to pay tribute to tradition and we believe that physical appearance and beauty and being fit — that is empowering! We are just not going to judge women on that anymore!"
Twenty-nine former Miss Americas signed a letter in support of Carlson.
The Miss America competition is set to air in September on ABC.