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Prejean ousted for turning down TV appearances, not her gay-marriage views, Miss California USA officials say

June 10, 2009 |  2:41 pm

It’s official. Miss California USA Carrie Prejean has been fired.

The reason wasn’t the anti-gay-marriage comments that have made her the darling of the political right. Nor was it the semi-nude photos that have made her the darling of many across the political spectrum.

 It was that the San Diego college student wasn’t doing her job, pageant officials said in a statement.

"This was a decision based solely on contraction violations including Ms. Prejean’s unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the Miss California USA organization,” said Keith Lewis, co-executive director of the Miss California USA pageant. “After our press conference in New York we had hoped we would be able to forge a better working relationship.

"However, since that time it has become abundantly clear that Carrie is unwilling to fulfill her obligations under our contract and work together,” Lewis said. The violations ranged from refusing to appear on the "Larry King Live" show to turning down red-carpet events from sponsors, said Lewis’ publicist, Roger Neal.

“I told Carrie she needed to get back to work and honor her contract, said Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageant system. “Unfortunately it just doesn’t look like it is going to happen and I offered Keith my full support in making this decision. Carrie is a beautiful young woman and I wish her well as she pursues her other interests.”

The move was the latest twist in a story that mixes intrigue with the machinations of reality television. Prejean burst into prominence when she declared at the Miss USA Pageant that she did not believe that two people of the same sex should be allowed to marry. “No offense to anybody out there,” she said.

 But offense was taken.

One of the pageant judges was celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who is gay. And he helped fan flames of controversy around her statement by saying her answer had helped cost her the Miss USA crown. Then he engaged in a talk-show show-down that went on for days. 

Both sides in the fight over gay marriage used the flap over Prejean to draw attention to their cause. The Miss California USA pageant officials, meanwhile, were incensed.

They accused her of “hijacking” their pageant and tried to strip her of her crown. Donald Trump, who owns the pageant, refused to go along with it, saying she could retain her title. But a month later, Trump allowed pageant officials to take her crown away.

-- Ruben Vives and Jessica Garrison

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