Mrs. America co-founder David Marmel fought charges that he made racially-sensitive remarks two months ago after four former contestants alleged that he said the comments during an event in Las Vegas, NBC News reported.
Marmel, the current president and chief executive of Mrs. America, allegedly made the comments at a party before the competition. The former contestants – Kimberly Phillips, Brandy Palacios, Jeri Ward, and Crissy Timpson – made their charges during a news conference Monday, the network noted.
The women said, according to NBC News, that Marmel had commented that knew the owners of Ebony magazine and that they were “the most racist people he ever met because they all used the term n***** freely with each other.”
They said that Marmel allegedly added that since the Ebony owners called him a “brother,” that he felt fine with using the longtime racially-charged term, per the network.
“At this point, he put his arm next to mine and in order to compare skin color,” Palacios claimed Monday, noted NBC News.
Timpson charged that Marmel made similar comments about black athletes taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games.
“The a****** who kneels needs to stop disrespecting my flag,” Marmel allegedly said after Timpson said he found out that her husband serves in the U.S. Air Force, NBC News wrote.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest before games in 2016 because of alleged police brutality against African-American. Other players around the league joined Kaepernick in the protest through the year.
Even though Kaepernick was not signed by an NFL team last year, some players continued to take the knee before games.
Phillips added that at another point, Marmel went into a story about a black man he knew who grew up in the projects around drugs and gangs, but went on to become an attorney, CNN wrote.
“He (Marmel) then said that it is not the 1960s anymore and black people can’t rely on the government for assistance,” Phillips said, per CNN. “He also stated that all black women need to stop having babies — with four baby daddies — and all black men are in jail because they need to stop selling drugs and killing each other.”
Marmel did not deny having such conversations but claimed that his comments were being mischaracterized. He told NBC News that brought up his conversation with the staff of Ebony and Jet magazines after he was told that black children being born out of wedlock and crime were big issues facing the African-American community.
“An exchange of perspective is a good thing there was nothing subjective about the conversation, it was review of the total experience of the life of David Marmel,” Marmel told NBC News.
Marmel went on to say that he created the Black Achievement Awards from his experience with African-Americans and has hired black staff and highlighted the achievements of many blacks, the network stated.