Former Miss California Carrie Prejean
accuses pageant officials of libel, slander and religious
discrimination in a lawsuit filed Monday, the AP reported.
Prejean, 22, claims she was wrongfully
fired in June by pageant officials after she denounced gay marriage.
Executive Director Keith Lewis has said she was fired because she
missed several appearances.
During the Miss USA contest in April,
openly gay blogger Perez Hilton asked Prejean if she supported gay
marriage, she answered no. The controversy spun out of control when
Hilton posted a nasty video response on his blog where he called the
beauty queen a “dumb bitch.”
Prejean, who was named runner-up, has
said she was denied the crown because she refused to back down from
her religious beliefs.
“[I lost] because I had spoken from
my heart, for my beliefs and for my God,” Prejean said on NBC's
Today Show. “It's not about being politically correct, for
me, it's about being biblically correct.”
Gay marriage opponents flocked to
Prejean, who agreed to appeared in a television ad for the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's largest group opposed
to the legalization of gay marriage.
Prejean's attorney Charles LiMandi told
Reuters that pageant officials resented her for her beliefs:
“There was a strained relationship, and it became that way when she
gave that answer and would not back off it. That's what this is
really all about.”
The lawsuit names Lewis and former Miss
USA co-director Shanna Moakler, who resigned in protest against
Prejean, but not Donald Trump, who owns Miss California USA's parent
Moakler's attorney, Mel Avanzado,
dismissed the suit in a statement.
“More importantly, as everyone who
watched or read her public statements is well aware, Ms. Prejean's
unfortunate and bigoted statements are responsible for any public
humiliation or damages to her reputation that she has claimed to have