22-year-old Emili McPhail was competing against 49 other women at night #2 in the 2019 Miss America prelims - when she was asked how she'd advise the National Football League when it comes to the kneeling issue.
Franklin won a $50,000 scholarship along with the crown in the first Miss America pageant to be held without a swimsuit competition.
Win she won, Franklin said, "It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my lovely family".
The onstage interview has replaced the swimsuit competition in this year's pageant, a change that has created controversy among those who feel the pageant needed to be modernized, and those who feel an integral part of the pageant is being sacrificed. The choice of wardrobe is now open, so everyone can express their own very individual style. "And to demonstrate how they are uniquely qualified for the exciting, challenging 365-day job of Miss America".
Mund's accusations led to numerous state organizations demanding that national chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper resign.
For the first time in the pageant's history, contestants were not judged on their physical appearance. "I want to thank my lovely family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer".More news: Eye of Hurricane Olivia breaking apart
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Officials said they confirmed Cara Mund's claims that Carlson bullied her and others. "After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll".
We should let them know that "we as Americans are supporting them and that we are there to help them", she suggested, according to The Associated Press. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Franklin said that she wanted to promote diversity, especially within the arts.
Franklin took home the crown in Sunday's live pageant - hosted by Dancing With the Stars' Carrie Ann Inaba and TV personality Ross Mathews - beating out 51 other competitors, one from each of the United States plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei, came in as runner-up for the event, and she received $25,000 in college scholarships.
Instead of a swimsuit competition, the competitors had a interactive session with the judges panel, which included Soledad O'Brien, Randy Jackson, Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Jessie James Decker, Carnie Wilson and Alli Webb.