Donald Trump to Decide Carrie Prejean's Fate

PHOTO Donald Trump, the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, will make the call on whether Carrie Prejean keeps her crownAP Photo/Getty Images
Miss California Carrie Prejean listens at the Rock Church during services in San Diego in this April, 26, 2009 file photo./ Donald Trump attends "The Celebrity Apprentice" season finale at the at American Museum of Natural History on May 10, 2009 in New York City. Trump, the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, will make the call on whether the scandal-scarred beauty queen gets to keep her crown.

Like past beauty queens, B-list celebrities and would-be business moguls, the fate of Miss California Carrie Prejean rests in the hands of Donald Trump.

At a press conference Monday, Shanna Moakler and Keith Lewis, co-directors of Miss California USA, said Trump, the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, will make the call on whether the scandal-scarred beauty queen gets to keep her crown.

Lewis and Moakler also unveiled a new PSA promoting the Miss California USA organization and appointed the pageant's first runner up, Tami Farrell, the organization's ambassador, effectively negating Prejean's role as the face of Miss California USA. Lewis asserted he wants to move on from Prejean and "get back to the business of beauty."

Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference regarding Prejean in New York Tuesday.

"If Miss California is unavailable, or if it would be unwise to put her in a specific appearance, we now have an ambassador to represent us," Lewis said, explaining his reasons for appointing Farrell ambassador. "We've been hijacked at the moment; we've been unable to do the work at hand."

Lewis and Moakler added that Prejean has missed Miss California USA appearances since participating in the Miss USA 2009 pageant, despite the fact that she's found time to travel the country talking about her views on marriage. Prejean, 21, started a media sensation when she spoke out against "opposite marraige" at the 2009 Miss USA pageant in April.

Prejean came under further scrutiny last week after semi-nude photos of her purportedly taken when she was a teenager emerged. Her contract contains a clause that asks participants whether they have conducted themselves "in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards." For example, it asks if they have ever been photographed nude or partially nude.

The beauty queen may also have violated her contract by working for a group that opposes gay marriage and making publicly speaking out against it. Last week, pageant officials said they were looking into whether Prejean violated the 12-page contract all contestants are required to sign before the November state contest.

The document prohibits whoever holds the title of Miss California from making personal appearances, granting interviews or making commercials without permission from pageant officials and gives the pageant's directors the right to revoke her crown for breaching any of the document's provisions.

Since being chosen runner-up at the Miss USA 2009 pageant, Prejean has made televised appearances at her San Diego church and on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is opposed to same-sex marriage.

An advertisement the group created based on Prejean's controversial answer at the Miss USA pageant about whether she supported gay marriage remains on the NOM Web site, despite a written request from the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss USA pageant, to remove it.

It's not the first time Trump will have to make the call on whether a scandalized beauty queen gets to keep her title. He faced a similar situation in 2006, when Miss USA Tara Conner came under scrutiny for reports of underage drinking and inappropriate behavior at bars. Trump ended up letting her keep her crown provided she go to rehab.

Prejean Attempts to Defend Herself

In April, when Prejean was in Washington to announce her support for the new ad, Keith Lewis, co-director of the California contest, expressed concern to The Associated Press.

"There is a contract that all participants sign that is very involved and very intricate and limits a lot of their activities," Lewis told the news agency.

Prejean's spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the possible breach of contract.

On Tuesday, Prejean said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that the Web site which posted the semi-nude photo and claims to have others is trying to belittle her religion.

She says the photos, which were taken of her as a teenager, had been released "surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith."

In the statement, Prejean also says the attacks on her and others who "speak in defense of traditional marriage" are intolerant and offensive.

She also defended the photos: "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos."

NOM President Maggie Gallagher also defended Prejean and said the picture did not disqualify her as a traditional marriage advocate.

"Of course Carrie is not perfect," Gallagher said in a statement Tuesday to the AP. "On a personal note, as a former unwed mother, I want to say to Americans: You don't have to be a perfect person to have the right to stand up for marriage."

Trump also came to Prejean's defense last week. Appearing on ABC's "The View" last Tuesday, he said her answer to the question of gay marriage posed during the televised pageant was not so far off base.

"That's the belief of 70 percent of the people, so it wasn't a horrible answer," he told the women on "The View." "That was her belief and she's taken hard hits. She's more famous because of it. No one is talking about the young woman who won. Nobody knows who she is."

Trump also said, contrary to popular belief, Prejean's answer did not cost her the title. "We went back and added up the scores," he said, "and she would not have won anyway. So that makes me feel better because it was a tough question."

Miss California's New Role

In April, Prejean told NBC's "Today" show that she was going to Washington to work with the National Organization for Marriage, saying the union between a man and a woman is "something that is very dear to my heart."

While Prejean was talking about her values, others were dropping bombshells about her body. Moakler, co-executive director of the Miss California Organization, confirmed to "Access Hollywood" that the group paid for Prejean's breast implants weeks before she competed in the 2009 Miss USA pageant.

"It was something that we all spoke about together," Moakler said referring to herself, Carrie Prejean and Keith Lewis, who also serves as co-executive director for the organization. "It was an option and she wanted it. And we supported that decision."

The beauty queen's family voiced their support for her following the Miss USA pageant.

"Considering what she was going through, the circumstances of being put on the spot, given such a short amount of time to think and respond … she said what she felt in her heart would be the best answer," Christina Prejean, Carrie's 22-year-old sister, told "She and I have talked about this subject; we both respect each other's views. I support civil unions that would give same sex couples equal, legal rights and privileges."

At the pageant, Prejean seemed initially tongue-tied answering to judge Perez Hilton's question before saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman, drawing a mixed reaction from the audience and a look of thinly veiled disgust from Hilton.

In the days afterward, Prejean attempted to quell criticism of her marriage views by saying that her sister is a gay activist.

"My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist," Prejean told "Access Hollywood" last week, adding that Christina is not gay. "She supports gay people, she supports gay marriage. My beliefs have nothing to do with my sister or my mom, or whatever."

Christina Prejean admitted she was surprised to hear the beauty queen call her a gay activist.

"I have never even given myself that title. I was kind of surprised that she mentioned it, but I think she wanted to get the point across that our family is tolerant," Christina Prejean said, adding that she only recently got involved in gay rights activism.

"A couple weeks back, I attended a public forum in Idaho about protecting the LGBT community against discrimination," she continued. "That was the very first thing I attended, and I told her about it on the night of the pageant, after she said she felt bad that people might be offended by her response. … But that's obviously such a hot topic that either way, someone was going to be offended."