Miss California USA Carrie Prejean has assured pageant officials that a lingerie modeling photo published online this week is the only one she posed for, the state pageant director said.
But the Web site that published the first picture said it has several more that it will “slowly roll out” starting Wednesday afternoon. The possibility that racier images could emerge prompted “closed-door meetings” Tuesday to consider stripping Prejean of her beauty queen title, pageant spokesman Ron Neal said. Although Neal said Prejean “breached her contract” by keeping the semi-nude photo or photos a secret, the only picture published so far appears about as revealing as the bikini Prejean wore in the pageant’s swimsuit competition. “We have been told by Carrie Prejean there are no other photos other than the one circulating in existence. She should know better than anyone,” Miss California USA Director Keith Lewis said Wednesday. The 21-year-old Miss USA contestant has been the center of controversy since she declared her opposition to same-sex marriage in a response to a question on the national pageant stage last month. She finished as runner-up to Miss USA. In a statement given to CNN Tuesday, Prejean said the photos — and she did use the plural — were being used in a “vicious and mean-spirited” effort to silence her for “defending traditional marriage.” While she vowed to “continue to support and defend marriage as the honorable institution it is,” Prejean may be doing so without the Miss California USA title.
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State pageant officials met Tuesday with lawyers and representatives of Donald Trump, who owns the international competition, to consider if they had grounds to take the crown away from Prejean, according to Neal. “When you compete for Miss California, you’re supposed to disclose whether you posed for nude or semi-nude photos because it’s grounds for disqualification,” he said. CNN obtained a copy of the pageant contract Prejean signed last year in which she agreed that the discovery of semi-nude photos could mean disqualification. The only photo made public shows Prejean — who said she was 17 at the time — wearing pink panties and no top. She is turned away from the camera, with her arm hiding most of her breast. It was unclear if pageant officials would consider this a semi-nude photo, in light of their standard requirement that contestants parade across stage wearing a bikini that arguably shows more bare skin. But the other shoe — or other garment — may be yet to drop. Nik Richie — of TheDirty.com — said he has waited for an upgrade of his Web site’s servers to handle the flood of traffic he expects will come after he posts the additional photos. “I will slowly roll these out,” Richie said. The next image will likely be published Wednesday afternoon, he said. “We’ll see what happens with those and we want to know who’s releasing them,” Neal said. Shanna Moakler, the co-executive director of the Miss California USA organization, will meet with Tami Farrell, the runner-up for the title, “to discuss the possible next steps,” Neal said. Prejean defended the photos, which she said were taken when she was a teenager aspiring to be a Victoria’s Secret model. “I am a Christian, and I am a model,” she said. “Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos.” She said the photos “have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith.” “I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be,” she said. “But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive. While we may not agree on every issue, we should show respect for others’ opinions and not try to silence them through vicious and mean-spirited attacks.” Her publicist, Melany Ethridge, confirmed a comment she gave to celebrity Web site TMZ in which she said Prejean was just 17 when she posed for the photos, hoping they would land her a modeling job. “In her naivete, an agent convinced her to pose for this photo to submit to a lingerie company, claiming they could make her the next Victoria’s Secret model,” Ethridge told TMZ. “She has since learned what a lie that was, and what a mistake it was to have the photo taken.” Prejean announced last week that she would star in a new $1.5 million ad campaign supporting what she termed “opposite marriage” (marriage between a man and a woman) funded by the National Organization for Marriage. “Marriage is good,” Prejean said at a news conference announcing the ad campaign. “There is something special about unions of husband and wife. Unless we bring men and women together, children will not have mothers and fathers.”