Former Miss California Sues For Libel, Slander and Discrimination
Fmr. Miss California Carrie Prejean (Getty Images)
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Los Angeles.
Prejean, 22, is suing California pageant executive director Keith Lewis and actress and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who served as a co-director before she resigned in protest of Prejean. She is also suing publicist Roger Neal, who handles press for Miss California USA and Lewis.
Prejean, who was stripped of her title in June, believes her crown was taken away because she said she opposed gay marriage. Pageant officials say she was fired for not fulfilling her obligations as Miss California USA and had missed several scheduled appearances.
Prejean's attorney, Chuck LiMandri, said Prejean filed suit only after he sought detailed information on what events Prejean missed.
"I wanted to give them every opportunity to provide the basis for those claims," LiMandri said.
He said he found no proof that Prejean missed events. "There were no contract violations," he said.
The lawsuit also claims Lewis and Moakler both told Prejean not to mention God on her Miss USA application or at public events at least two months before she gave her anti-gay marriage answer.
The suit also claims Moakler and Lewis improperly revealed that the Miss California USA pageant had paid for Prejean's breast implants.
Moakler's attorney, Mel Avanzando, said in a statement that Prejean's lawsuit was without merit.
"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 suffered," Avanzando wrote. "Ms. Moakler strenuously denies that she did anything wrong and looks forward to proving that in a court of law."
The lawsuit accuses Lewis, Moakler and Neal of using Internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter to post disparaging remarks about Prejean.
The lawsuit does not name Donald Trump, who owns Miss California USA's parent organization and who in May refused to fire Prejean, a decision he reversed a month later.
Prejean signed a book day in July with conservative book house "Regency Publishing" to publish a memoir called "Still Standing." She says she will tell her side of the story in the book, answering questions about what happened behind the scenes at the pageant and why she answered the question posed to her by Perez Hilton the way she did. The book will be released in November.