Ms. California: Past & Present Issues

April 19th one of the finalists in the Ms. USA pageant was asked a question, which she answered. Let the controversy ensue.

Now, some weeks later, she’s back in the news. It seems that she has done some things that could get her crown ripped away. The two main issues center on “racy” photos taken when she was younger and recent appearances which were not sanctioned by the pageant officials. I should point out that my opinions here are mine, and not representative of any organizations I am associated with.

1. The pictures. To be honest, this was disappointing news. I have not seen the pictures, but assume they really are “racy’ or there wouldn’t be much of a story here. I know she was 17 then, and people make mistakes. Wednesday reports of more pictures have surfaced. (Some reports say these are electronically altered.)

The lesson: Things you do now matter in the future.

She should have disclosed these images up front, so there would be no question about it now. I personally don’t think her excuse about being a model, and that models “pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos” holds up. We all make mistakes. I hope she realizes this was one. Let me be clear, I am not defending these images, nor her lack of disclosure to pageant officials. I think posing like that was wrong, and then not being up front about it was wrong.

This isn’t the first time we have heard that beauty pageant contestants have posed for racy pictures. Ms. USA had some controversy with it’s winners before, but I don’t remember this much media attention being paid to a runner up before. I doubt we would know anything about it, if her answer to that question had been different.

2. The appearances:

“The detailed document prohibits the titular Miss California from making personal appearances, giving interviews or making commercials without permission from pageant officials. In the last 10 days, Prejean has made televised appearances at her San Diego church and on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage.”

There is also a TV commercial from NOM.

Meanwhile, the Miss Universe Organization, which also owns the Miss USA pageant, confirmed Tuesday that it had sent a letter demanding the National Organization for Marriage to remove the Prejean spot from the air and the group’s website. It includes footage from the April 19 pageant.

The Miss Universe Organization “neither sanctions nor disapproves of the viewpoints expressed in the advertisement but cannot allow its copyrighted material to be used without permission to support the National Organization for Marriage’s political agenda and fundraising efforts,” organization President Paula Shugart said.

NOM executive director Brian Brown said the group did not plan to comply with the pageant’s request.

“It is clearly fair use, and all they are attempting to do is silence us by using false legal claims,” Brown said. “But they have another thing coming if they think these ads are coming down. None of us are relenting, least of all Carrie.”

NOM President Maggie Gallagher also issued a statement Tuesday sympathizing with Prejean over the release of her modeling picture and saying it did not disqualify her as a traditional marriage advocate.

“Of course Carrie is not perfect,” Gallagher said. “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.”

For me, this hinges on who she was appearing as. I mean, did she go to her church and appear as Ms. California or as Carrie Prejean? I know, she is the same person, but she is much more than just Ms. California. She shouldn’t lose the right to speak her mind… more to the point, to defend herself from attacks… because she has a crown in California.

If she was recognized in her church, and that happens to be on TV… are we really saying this is a Ms. CA TV appearance? This is the local body that is going to pray for her, and help her deal with this mess, which only exists because liberal, open-minded people can’t stand an opposing viewpoint on national TV. If there is anywhere she could go and be on TV as herself, it is her local church.

The NOM stuff… The TV commercial uses footage from the pageant. It doesn’t have anything new from Carrie. They are claiming fair use, and that is really between the pageant people and NOM, and shouldn’t concern Carrie.

She appeared at a news conference that unveiled the ad. Again, is she appearing officially as Ms. California, or as Carrie Prejean who happens to be at the center of a controversy surrounding a question asked to her during a pageant?

Let me frame this differently. She is asked in public a question, and her answer embarrasses liberals who asked it. They ignite a controversy, and attack her publicly. And they mock her and try to discredit her. Should she be restricted from speaking in her defense, or in the defense of her ideals because she holds the crown of Ms. California… the crown that put her in the place where she was asked this question to begin with?

In no way did she solicit a question on gay marriage during the pageant. Those silly people made the call to ask that, and didn’t like the response. Basically, they started this mess, and they are continuing it. But now, when she defends herself… she gives them the excuse to remove the crown?

Got to love liberal open minded viewpoints. Their tolerance only knows one boundary- conservative thought.

Update: Heard on local news that she gets to keep her title, at this point anyway.

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