One month after being allowed to keep her crown, Carrie Prejean was fired Wednesday by the Miss California USA pageant, with both sides in the dispute disagreeing over the reasons.
Miss California officials said Prejean was let go because she refused to cooperate and did not fulfill her obligations for the role by making certain appearances. Prejean, though, said she was fired because of her support for California Proposition 8 and opposition to "gay marriage."
Donald Trump, who owns the Miss USA pageant and who just a month earlier let her keep her title, approved the firing, FoxNews.com reported.
Keith Lewis, executive director of the company that runs the Miss California USA pageant, said the decision was "based solely on contract violations." Tami Farrel, the Miss California USA runner-up, is the new Miss California.
"After our press conference in New York we had hoped we would be able to forge a better working relationship," Lewis was quoted as saying in a release on FoxNews.com. "However, since that time it has become abundantly clear that Carrie has no desire to fulfill her obligations under our contract and work together.”
Prejean, though, saw it differently.
"What's behind this I think is a political debate," she told the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com. "They don't agree with the stance that I took [on Prop 8].... They don't like me. From day one they wanted me out and they got what they wanted."
Prejean's attorney, Charles LiMandri, disagreed with Miss California officials and told FoxNews.com that she "has been in constant contact with pageant officials seeking to fulfill her obligations."
Trump, Prejean and Miss California officials took part in a press conference May 12 in which Trump announced she would be able to keep her title. Prior to the press conference, Miss California officials had been highly critical of Prejean's involvement with the National Organization for Marriage, a pro-family group opposed to "gay marriage." Racy photos of Prejean also had surfaced -- photos Prejean said were released by a professional photographer without her permission.
The controversy surrounding Prejean began April 19, when Prejean was asked during the Miss USA pageant whether she believed other states should follow Vermont's lead in legalizing "gay marriage." A student at San Diego Christian College in El Cajon who attends The Rock Church in San Diego, Prejean responded by saying "marriage should be between a man and a woman." She finished first runner-up, with some observers saying the answer cost her the crown. Her pastor, Miles McPherson, appeared on radio and television defending not only her but her opposition to "gay marriage."
Prejean appeared on NBC's "Today" show two days after Miss USA and was asked if she would have answered the question differently if given the chance.
"It's not about being politically correct," she said. "For me, it was being biblically correct." She added, regarding her missed opportunity to win the crown, "It wasn't what God wanted for my life that night."
Conservatives defended her the past two months and came to her defense again after she was fired.
"After weeks of left-wing campaigns to destroy the young woman, Americans have now seen what happens to anyone who dares run up against the gay lobby," Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center, wrote in a column on FoxNews.com. "The exact same scenario played out with Proposition 8 against gay marriage. They are attacked by the left and the media, which on this issue like so many others, are identical."
Said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, "Hollywood will dance its tribal war dance over her body -- the hatred generated against her has been extraordinary -- but Carrie will be free to define her own mission and message from now on. Congratulations."
Plenty of media personalities had criticized Prejean, and few did it tactfully. The judge who asked the initial Miss USA question to Prejean, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, posted a video on his website saying Prejean lost because she was a "dumb [expletive]." A second judge, Las Vegas entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs, wrote on her blog that Prejean "made the mistake of not knowing when to shut her mouth." MSNBC anchor David Shuster piled on, writing on his Twitter account of Hilton, "I think his assessment of Miss [California] USA's logic was accurate." Giuliana Rancic, a news anchor on E! Television, wrote on her Twitter account regarding Prejean, "she is an ignorant discrace [sic] and she makes me sick to my stomach."