John Oliver exposes Miss America Pageant scholarship debacle (video)

John Oliver weighed in on the Miss America Pageant, which took place last week. Apparently, the pageant claims to provide $45 million per year in scholarships for women. Oliver dug up the tax forms, and it’s more like $482,000 per year.


He’s got some great clips. They actually asked the women last week to solve the ISIS problem. Another was asked about the Gitmo hostage exchange.

Also, Oliver really zings the pageant badly by going and checking out their tax records. While Miss America claims to give $45 million in scholarships a year, he found out that it’s more like $482,000. About $44.5 million short.

Oliver then went and attempted to get the tax filings of every Miss America pageant in every single state. The numbers didn’t add up.

It turns out that they tally the scholarships that individual pageant contestants have been offered by schools around the country. For example, Miss Pennsylvania is offered a choice of four scholarships, but Miss America tallied all four together, even though the winner will really only take one.

old-miss-americaAnother “scholarship,” $2.5m to a school in Alabama, is really only a $54,000 scholarship that Miss America then multiplied by the number of pageant contestants, 48, since they could all theoretically attend the university if they all wanted to. In fact, no one accepted a scholarship from that school that year.

I’m really blown away that Oliver did this. Wow.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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12 Responses to “John Oliver exposes Miss America Pageant scholarship debacle (video)”

  1. GlendaCBush says:

    My Uncle Hayden got an almost new cream Mercedes M-Class Diesel by parttime working online at home. see here now

  2. cambridgemac says:

    One of my all time favorite moments. Thanks for sharing again. Merka – we’re number one.

  3. cambridgemac says:

    Oh noes! Miss America has lied to us! Is nothing sacred?

  4. BeccaM says:

    And, bahahahaha!

    On paper, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev reads like a forward-thinking person’s dream of what a beauty queen could be. She’s a trilingual honors student who’s publicly passionate about women’s health and down to clown with Jimmy Kimmel; she’s got a squeaky-clean image and a squeaky-clean resume. But it’s missing one unflattering detail.

    In late April 2013, Jezebel has learned, Kazantsev and a friend were both kicked out of the Alpha Phi sorority at Hofstra University on Long Island after hazing pledges. At the time, Kazantsev was serving as the sorority’s head of recruitment.
    After returning from her fall 2012 study abroad semester in Spain, Kazantsev began her term as Alpha Phi’s Recruitment Committee President for the incoming pledges. Kazantsev and her best friend (another Alpha Phi sister who was also her roommate), our source says, were exceptionally harsh toward the pledges. (In the tipster’s words, they made the recruits’ lives “a living hell.”) Under Kira’s supervision, according to the source, pledges in the incoming class were called names, berated for their perceived physical flaws and imperfections, and made to perform physical tasks to the point of bruising and exhaustion…

    Why does this not surprise me?

  5. BeccaM says:

    John Oliver’s delivery could use a bit of mellowing (he has an annoying habit of simply repeating himself in a more emphatic tone, as if that makes a punchline funnier, when really it doesn’t).

    Aside from that, I’ve really enjoyed and look forward to his weekly in-depth segments. Whether it’s the mendacious, misogynistic farce that is the Miss America pageant, or the militarization of the police, or incarceration in the U.S., or his now classic “let’s make the debate on climate change mathematically fair and balanced” bit, the fact he can go on longer and without commercial interruption means there’s less simplification than in, say, The Daily Show or Colbert Report segments. Also, as Oliver has commented, the show really is trying to report on important matters in ‘old news’ (i.e., the eponymous Last Week Tonight), but unlike TDS/CR, he’s not trying to be a parody news show.

    But these ‘beauty pageants’… gawd. That we still have them in 2014, rewarding women primarily on the basis of their looks and bodies (the rest is just proverbial window-dressing), is an appalling statement on the status of gender equality and sexual objectification.

    Then again, we also have these proudly woman-hating creeps:

  6. Indigo says:

    Creative accounting can generate the most impressive results, even when the substance of reality lags far behind. It’s interesting to learn how very creative the off-stage accountants are with the Miss America pageant’s claims.

  7. cheeriogirl says:

    So Miss America has never really been about scholarships after all. Is anyone really surprised?

  8. dcinsider says:

    One would hope that some mainstream media investigative journalist would hop on this!

    Sometimes I really crack myself up. “Mainstream media investigative journalist.” I should write comedy.

  9. UncleBucky says:

    I thought that the feller contestant would have been in speedos and butt glue… Sadly, no…!

  10. UncleBucky says:

    Crickets, baby, crickets!

  11. It’d go something like this…

  12. BLFJboy says:

    I’m dying to hear the Miss America Pageant organization response to this.

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