Trump says Miss California USA can retain crown

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Miss California USA can retain her crown after questions arose about semi-nude photographs taken of her as a teenager and her association with an anti-gay marriage group, pageant owner Donald Trump said.

Carrie Prejean's comments about her opposition to same-sex marriage ignited a media firestorm after a celebrity judge suggested her response may have cost her the Miss USA title; she finished as first-runner up. The photos surfaced later and led to the review of her title.

"We've reviewed the pictures carefully," Trump said at a packed news conference at Trump Plaza in New York City yesterday. "We've made a determination that the pictures taken were acceptable. Some were risque, but we are in the 21st century."

Trump also defended the answer Prejean gave at the April 19 Miss USA pageant. She was asked her view of marriage by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. Prejean said she believes marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Trump only briefly addressed questions surrounding Prejean's association with the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes same-sex marriage. He dismissed them as a "communication problem" between Prejean and California pageant officials.

Before competing in the Miss California USA competition, all prospective contestants are required to sign a detailed 12-page contract prohibiting Miss California USA from making personal appearances, giving interviews or making commercials without permission from pageant officials.

The contract also contains a clause asking participants to disclose whether they have conducted themselves "in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards." It asks participants whether they have ever been photographed nude or partially nude.

After Trump spoke, Prejean, who was accompanied by her parents, took her turn at the lectern, defending herself against "hateful attacks, despicable rumors and false allegations."

"On April 19 on that stage I exercised my freedom of speech, and I was punished for doing so," said Prejean, who described Hilton's question as "politically charged" with a "hidden personal agenda."

"This should not happen in America."

In an interview with The Associated Press, Prejean said she was briefly tempted by Satan to answer Hilton's question in a way that would please the judges.

"I had worked so hard for this," she said.

Instead, she decided to give her honest opinion, even if it cost her points.

"The Lord was in my heart and in my head just saying, 'Carrie, how bad do you want this? Are you willing to deny me?"' she said. "I will always continue to not compromise my values."

Trump's senior executive assistant, Rhona Graff-Ricci, said Trump wouldn't answer further questions about Prejean's dealings with the marriage group. Officials at the Miss Universe Organization, which runs Miss USA, didn't immediately return a message Tuesday.

Prejean told the AP that she was not working with the National Organization for Marriage.

After the pageant, Prejean revisited the same-sex-marriage issue in interviews and televised talks, including one at her San Diego megachurch and another on behalf of the marriage group.

On Tuesday, the group featured a photo of Prejean on its Web site and said it had launched a new advertisement against gay marriage featuring footage of her at the pageant. The ad also features video of Hilton referring to Prejean with a profanity.

The Miss Universe Organization has demanded that the group remove the ad. Brian Brown, the National Organization for Marriage's executive director, said the group did not plan to comply.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power