After the scandal, Vanessa's career as a singer and actress still flourished -- more than most, if not all, Miss America contestants -- and last night at the 2016 Miss America pageant, Vanessa finally got an apology from the organization that took away her crown.
Vanessa, now 52, was the head judge of the September 13 pageant, and during the show, pageant CEO Sam Haskell offered a formal apology:
Plenty of things were said and done but it's good that Vanessa got an apology, even 32 years after the fact, for being blamed when photos taken before her pageant days were published without her consent. Playboy actually passed on the spread. As Vanity Fair noted, "In fact, Hugh Hefner became one of Williams' most staunch defenders saying, 'The single victim in all of this was the young woman herself, whose right to make this decision was taken away from her. If she wanted to make this kind of statement, that would be her business, but the statement wasn't made by her.'"
I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years. You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today's organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."
With the past in the past, Vanessa joined the team that helped choose 21-year-old Betty Cantrell of Georgia as the new Miss America.
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