Why did the Miss California Pageant director resign?
Shanna Moakler, one time Miss USA and current Miss California Pageant director, resigned Wednesday May 13, amid a whirlwind of controversy related to current Miss California Carrie Prejean. Miss Prejean made some controversial statements about gay marriage during the recent Miss USA pageant, followed by new that her statements probably led to her losing the Pageant, calls from the Religious Right that the Pageant misfired, and the apperance of several racy photos of Carrie Prejean topless and in her underwear. Controversy about the Miss USA pageant is nothing new — it seems that every year this Pageant spits up a new hot issue for the news media to bandy about.
At a news conference on Monday, Shanna Moakler came out publicly to accuse Prejean of violating the contract she signed with pageant organizers. Moakler first claimed that Prejean broke the rules by speaking out against gay marriage “on behalf of organizations opposed to gay marriage”. Moakler then claimed that by failing to disclose she had posed nearly nude for racy photographs before entering the state pageant, she further breeched the Pageant’s standard contract. The Miss California Pageant feeds in to the Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions.
Then on Tuesday, Donald Trump, organizer and sponsor of the Miss USA tournament, defended Prejean’s statements that marriage should be exclusive to men and women, saying her position was similar to President Barack Obama’s. While Trump is correct in comparing Prejean’s opinion to the President’s similar opposition to gay marriage, Trump did not address the “contract” issue, and chose to allow Miss Prejean to retain her crown. Although Trump did acknowledge that the photos of Carrie Prejean were “risque”, he said he didn’t think they were bad enough to remove her crown. Trump then ceremoniously replaced the Miss California banner around Carrie Prejean, to the flashbulbs of what appeared to be a herd of cameras.
Shanna Moakler, Miss USA of 1995, said she decided after the Trump news conference that she had to step down as Miss California Pageant Director. In a statement released on Wednesday, Moakler said:
“I cannot with a clear conscience move forward supporting and promoting the Miss Universe Organization when I no longer believe in it or the contracts I signed committing myself as a youth. I want to be a role model for young women with high hopes of pageantry, but now feel it more important to be a role model for my children.”
Prejean, who was the first runner-up at last month’s Miss USA pageant, created a significant amount of buzz when she responded to a question by celebrity judge (and homosexual) Perez Hilton by saying, “I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” This further politicized an already controversial Pageant — something that Americans can’t seem to go a minute without doing. What was supposed to be a beauty and talent contest quickly became a nasty bit of political infighting.
After gay rights advocates very publicly questioned Carrie Prejean’s ethic, California pageant officials said Prejean, who is 21, asked for permission “to elaborate on her answer” and the Pageant officials agreed. Unfortunately for Miss Prejean, Pageant officials did not expect her to begin speaking in front of many crowds of people opposed to gay marriage, including her San Diego church and the National Organization for Marriage. Pageant officials claim Miss Prejean knew she was making these statements “without their permission”.
While all this was going on, Carrie Prejean began missing Miss California events she was contractually obligated to attend in order to extend her anti gay marriage position to other groups. Donald Trump was quick to blame many of these contractual breaks on what he said was ‘miscommunication between Prejean, pageant organizers” and some outside groups.
This has become the story that won’t die. It seems every day there’s a new Carrie Prejean photo surfacing, and they appear to be racier as time goes on. Carrie Prejean has complained that whoever is releasing these photos is attacking her politics, while many mainstream Americans simply want the truth — did Prejean honestly “forget” to mention her topless photos to Pageant officials, or did she intentionally mislead the, therefore breaking her contract.
There’s another segment of Americans — those who wish the story would go away.