Photo: Donald Kravitz (Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions)

We’ve seen what happens when a group of states try to secede from the rest of the United States, most famously in a thing called the Civil War, but we’ve never really experienced what it’s like when a handful of states are forcibly booted from the nation—until now. As reported by the Associated Press (via Vulture), the organizers of the Miss America pageant have terminated the licenses of four states, banning them from future competitions and effectively cutting them off from the rest of the Union. Within a few generations, all memories of Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and an unnamed fourth state will be completely lost, and their cursed fate could’ve been completely avoided if only they had agreed not to question the current leadership of the Miss America Organization.

This tragic shattering of our beloved nation all stems from a dispute between that leadership—including CEO Regina Hopper and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson—and 46 state officials from within the Miss America system that want Carlson and Hopper to resign. The new leadership took over at the beginning of this year, a few weeks after the old Miss America CEO was exposed as a sexist asshole, and Carlson quickly announced a new initiative that involved cutting out the swimsuit competition and pledging to judge contestants on more than their “outward physical appearance.”

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The states trying to rebel say they don’t have a problem with eliminating the swimsuit competition, but they’re not happy with how Carlson and Hopper have been handling things since taking over. We don’t know exactly what that means, and Miss America won’t say why the states had their licenses revoked, but they have said that the states can be reinstated if they “replace current leaders.” Meanwhile, other rebellious states have been asked “to explain—in writing—why they acted as they did,” which is a weirdly tyrannical approach to punishing dissenters.

As this is all going on, there was a scandal just after this year’s competition in which outgoing Miss America winner Cara Mund said she was “marginalized and bullied” by the new pageant bosses. An investigation found nothing to support her claims, but the investigators never actually interviewed Mund herself. Also, Hopper and Carlson believe that the detractors are a “noisy minority” that just doesn’t like change, but that seems like an odd way to characterize 46 of 51 eligible states (counting the District Of Columbia).

Either way, say goodbye to any friends you may have in Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the unnamed fourth state, because they—and their beauty pageant contestants—are now worthless.

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