Pageant official quits over Miss California move

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The Independent US

In the latest twist in a scandal that has rocked an American beauty pageant, a former Miss USA has resigned as co-executive of the Miss California USA competition following owner Donald Trump's decision to let the state's controversial title holder keep her crown.

Trump said that Carrie Prejean could retain her Miss California USA crown even after questions arose about semi-nude photographs taken of her as a teenager and her association with an anti-gay marriage group.

Former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who won the Miss USA in 1995, said she decided to quit following Trump's news conference.

"I cannot with a clear conscience move forward supporting and promoting the Miss Universe Organisation when I no longer believe in it or the contracts I signed committing myself as a youth," she said in a statement issued by her publicist. "I want to be a role model for young women with high hopes of pageantry, but now feel it more important to be a role model for my children."

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.

Trump's senior executive assistant, Rhona Graff-Ricci, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.