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Contestants accuse Mrs. America pageant owner of racial bias

Last Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm EST

The four contestants in this year's Mrs. America pageant are calling for an apology from the pageant's owner over accusations he used racial slurs and stereotypes in a conversation, pose for photos, in New York, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. They are, from left: Mrs. Delaware America Kimberly Phillips, Mrs. New Jersey America Crissy Timpson, attorney Gloria Allred, Mrs. Missouri Brandy Palacios, and Mrs. Ohio America Jeri Ward. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Four contestants in this year’s Mrs. America pageant are calling for an apology from the pageant’s owner over accusations he used racial slurs and stereotypes in a conversation.

The four women, three African American and one white, spoke at a news conference Monday in Manhattan with lawyer Gloria Allred.

They accuse David Marmel of using the racially biased language at a pageant event in August in Las Vegas.

They says at a pre-competition party, Marmel told them that black men are in jail and black women need to stop having so many babies with multiple fathers.

Shawn Marshall, vice-president at the Mrs. America organization, vehemently denied the accusations against Marmel. He said Marmel was relaying his experiences to the women, and used no language that should have been interpreted as offensive.