Topless Photos of Miss California Could Cost Her Crown

Officials say Carrie Prejean may have violated contract by posing semi-nude.

ByABC News
April 28, 2009, 6:56 PM

May 6, 2009 — -- Miss California Carrie Prejean stands to lose her title by working for a group that opposes gay marriage and posing semi-nude for pictures when she was a teenager.

The directors of the Miss California USA pageant are currently 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 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.

Last week 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.

Also of concern are semi-nude photos of Prejean that surfaced on the Internet earlier this week.

A racy photo of Prejean wearing only pink panties was posted on gossip blog on Monday.

Prejean's 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.

"As you can see from the contract, she violated multiple items," Miss California pageant spokesman Roger Neal said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

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 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 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."

Also coming to Prejean's defense was Donald Trump, who owns the Miss USA pageant. Appearing on ABC's "The View" on 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."