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Statement From Field Director of Miss WA Pageant

7/9/2008 12:33 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Elyse Umemoto is an outstanding young woman and has been a brilliant representative for the Miss Washington Scholarship Organization. We continue to be very proud of her. She is known for her raucous sense of humor and clowning around. It is unfortunate that her behavior in unguarded moments has attracted attention.
The Miss Washington Scholarship Organization is embarrassed by the pictures you have seen. We do not condone the behaviors depicted in these photos. However, there will be no discipline for Elyse based on the behavior evidenced in the photos. None of them depict illegal behavior or cross a line that cannot be uncrossed. Elyse feels very bad about how this attention affects her reputation and that of our organization. We will treat this as a growth opportunity, both for Elyse and for our other contestants, one of whom will soon be Elyse's successor. The lesson will be that if you choose to appear to challenge the boundaries of good taste you better be sure that the environment is safe. Photographs, like words, can be taken out of context, and once a photograph is recorded it is available forever and there is no way to control its distribution. Nobody goes through life without occasionally letting their guard down and acting foolishly. Title holders will be reminded that they are public figures and role models whose lives will be scrutinized, especially by those who take pleasure in exposing imperfections, however slight. Elyse will not be the last young person whose clowning behaviors will give the wrong impression to people who do not know her. We can only work toward ensuring that the attention these pictures have generated will be a cautionary tale for all of the title holders in our organization.

We consider mentoring the young women in our program to be one of our primary responsibilities. It is a difficult lesson for some young people to learn that their fun-loving behavior before friends can be used against them. When trust is violated the pain is deep. We do not yet know which of her friends, or former friends, may have betrayed her by posting these photographs. All we know for certain is that they were posted by someone who is bent on damaging the image of an amazing young woman.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, this seems to be much ado about nothing. Many young people clown around and act silly in private in ways that they would never consider in public arenas. We would hope that they could always trust their friends, but the realities of human nature teach us that trust is hard to come by.

I can understand the interest of the media in pursuing these photographs to see if there is a story of substance associated with them. It would be our hope that the media would understand that there is no deeper story, unless it is one of betrayal and the anguish that it brings. The MWSO and Elyse will hold our heads high and weather whatever comes, even though this incident should not register a blip on the Richter scale. We will trust the legitimate media to be skilled enough at their jobs to realize that there is no story here and move on to real news that matters to the public welfare.

Thank You,
"Leadership Through Scholarship"

Michael R. "Mike" Miller
MWSO Executive Field Director


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Cause your a hoe , you know your a hoe, how do I know becuase you told me so !!!!!

Yank that skank's crown, Yeah baby !!!!!

2304 days ago

Beth, Puyallup WA    

Congratulations to Mike and the MWSO for pointing out the obsurdity of the situation. The obviously cropped and misconstrued photos do not represent to me any thing more than normal American behavior among friends. Elyse has always represented her platform Embracing Diversity Empowering Women and how better to do so then to stop the malicious slander of woman through cyber trashing? We as a society need to come together and stop the sensless violence against woman, end the hype. The Miss Washington Scholarship Organization has provided a wonderful role model in Elyse Umemoto, I for one am proud to know Elyse Umemoto, she is a woman of great intelligence, poise, and empathy.

2304 days ago


I am an open minded middle age man who enjoys fun as much as the next, but if you are in the public eye, are supposed to be a role model for others, and claim to be just sorry for these acts, the entire Washington State organization needs to then be taught rules of civility, propriety, and responsibility. By not condoning what this girl did and by not stripping her of the crown, it just plays into the deterioration of the youths responsibilities to this country. Now if she was just a college girl with no other responsibilities, then those who complain need to take a chill-pill. But this girl, though she is georgeous, still needs to live up to a certain standards. And by making the gestures she did, displaying herself openly like she did (though she did look incredible) and acting as she did, she should be disciplined.

2304 days ago

The Singer    

I don't think anyone has mentioned just how far Elyse has come in her life. Not one account of this unfortunate mistake has anyone mentioned Elyse as the person. She's comes from very humble beginnings and has worked her way through college with the highest of honors. She like many others has come from a divided home and found strength in her upbringing to build the tenacity she needed to achieve her goals. She's bright, beautiful, and human. I'm sure she'll come through all this stronger and wiser. I believe it's a great learning experience for today's youth. In this case, when you're in the limelight, you're easy target for friendly fire! She certainly was. Betrayed by friends. Now there's your crime. There's your reason to wag those index fingers!

2304 days ago

Miss Understood    

Correcting a few mistakes in the aboves comments:
1) I believe she was 21, LEGAL age, when the pictures were taken
2) She is Miss Washington, not Miss Teen
3) The new Miss Washington is being crowned this weekend, not in September. The timing of the photos seems like it was planned by the trator to shake her image as she gives up the crown.
4) Finally, she is an upstanding person that let her guard down just like everyone else on this planet.

Give it a rest people, and stop being hypocritical.

2304 days ago


The letter is great. I accept what was written. That is their position.

Now, the comments by some people..... I don't wish to drag politics into this, but we, the people of the United States did elect Bill Clinton. A draft dodging, pot smoking, womanizing person. All of what I just said of him, has been proven. And yet, people defend him.......

Nothing surprises me when it comes to pageants and politics. And this is politics.......

2304 days ago

Mr. Cynic    

Two things motivate 95% of all people in this world: power and greed. Miss WA wants the scholarship, and is willing to make herself look like something she isn't to get it. Michael Miller is out to make MWSO looks as shiny as possible to increase exposure of his program as much as possible.

It's like everything else. In the end, we all want as much as we can get for as little effort as possible.

2303 days ago


I agree, they should be concerned with her behavior. If I was a parent of a teenage girl and this was her role model, I would be greatly disappointed! I have four adopted children and this is not what I would call 'a great girl'!

2303 days ago


I agree with the Director of this organization 100%. Everyone acts inappropriately at some point in their life and it is unfortunate that Miss Washington's action were caught on film and broadcasted to the World; by someone whom I imagine she thought was a friend, no less. I hope she will now understand that she is a public figure and a role model and that, as unfortunate as it is, she has to control her behaviors in all arenas of her life and act as if she were always being filmed for the public to see, at least until she no longer holds the crown for this State. I am pleasantly surprised that Mike, the Director of the Miss Washington Pageant, is standing behind this lady so respectfully, as that is the only approach that will benefit all involved.

2303 days ago

TX Pageant Mom    

First off, there is not a single picture of her wearing her state crown, only a local crown. The rest look like college pictures to me. What college kid doesn't have pictures like this? Do I think it is right? No. But most college kids don't care what other people think. They are just being funny. This entire situation has been blown all out of proportion. She must have a very jealous "friend" or hateful ex-boyfriend to do this to her.

2303 days ago


It is very unfortunate. Whatever happened to privacy. I am a 53 old mother of 2 sons and I remember when. What I see is someone snapping shots at a personal gathering and then exploited those pics. These pics look like they were all personal friends/acquaintances goofing around. She should find out which of her friends turned over these photos and end the friendship.

2303 days ago


Yikes... it sounds like most of you people have entirely too much time on your hands. This is a silly young girl who, as silly young people are prone to do, made a mistake. Hopefully she learned from it, but if not, frankly, it's not going to make a hell of a lot of difference one way or another. YOU, on the other hand, have no good excuse, given that you claim to have a clear and upright view of the moral high ground. Instead of going out and making substantive changes in your communities so that society will be less prone to pay attention to trivialities for the sake of justifying senseless outrage, you sit atop those high horses and pass judgment on others. If you truly want to be outraged at a lack or looseness of moral fiber, you might consider taking a gander at the closest mirror.

2303 days ago


Yeah! for the field director! Playfulness seems to be taken out of content for the pleasure of the media to look like they remember what they don't remember like telling the truth intead of lieing just for a pay check. Good show again to you field director Mike. And! Miss Washington, continue to pursue your dream.

2303 days ago


The field director is wrong. There should be consequences for this behavior, regardless of the
"ethics" of the "friend" who turned her in. The example set here is deplorable, and someone who the state can be proud of should be awarded the crown. This is shameful.

2303 days ago


Why isnt the Miss America Organization doing anything about this. I guess the worse behavior the more you are rewarded for it, Eylse is laughing her ass off she got her money for school, she doesnt care her regin is over, do you care she is trashing your pagents and organizations.

2303 days ago
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