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BOSTON - A beauty queen is giving up her crown after she says a joke at the Miss Massachusetts pageant made fun of the #MeToo movement.
Maude Gorman says telling her story of sexual assault isn't easy, but that she has made it her life mission to pass it along.
“I hope to be proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel," Gorman said.
Gorman says her life began spiraling after she was raped at the age of 13.
“I dropped out of high school; I transferred five times before I even dropped out. People kind of wrote me off as a troubled teen," Gorman said. "I battled obesity and anorexia.”
Yet somehow, she found her own light at the end of the tunnel and turned her life around.
Gorman is now in the coast guard auxiliary, she's a motivational speaker, an athlete and was Miss Plymouth County.
“I was so excited to compete at Miss Massachusetts," Gorman said.
Maude Gorman says she’s giving up her #PlymouthCounty crown after a joke about #metoo at the Miss Massachusetts pageant - hear from this sexual assault survivor on her decision. No matter what your take on the situation - her story is inspiring. @boston25 pic.twitter.com/sySxKCpTSX— Elysia Rodriguez (@ElysiaBoston25) July 10, 2018
However, toward the end of the pageant last week, Gorman's excitement turned into disgust.
In an onstage skit, shared by the observer, a woman asked why the swimsuit competition was eliminated. The pageant emcee then held up a sign that said #MeToo.
“It’s not a joke; it should never be a joke," Gorman said. "It’s hard enough to share your story without having to wonder if someone is going to laugh at you.”
After the pageant, she decided to give up her regional crown.
“I had competed for Miss Plymouth County before and was second runner-up, so to finally get that title and to represent where I grew up was a really exciting time so to walk away was hard, but doing the right thing is hard sometimes," Gorman said.
The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors issued an apology, saying the "skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the board."
“There were so many talented girls there and everyone is so beautiful and they are all there to make change in this world, so to mock something that has been making change for survivors of sexual assault – it was just counterproductive," Gorman said.
The emcee also issued a statement saying the "skit was meant as a satirical poke at those who are upset that swimsuit is going away. It was intended to be a nod to the #metoo movement, not a knock on it.”
Gorman said she appreciates the apologies but stands by her decision.