After being shrouded in controversy since the Miss USA pageant, Miss California Carrie Prejean is keeping her crown.
"Carrie will remain Miss California," Donald Trump – the Miss USA owner – said in a press conference on Tuesday.
U.S. & World
Despite racy photos of the beauty queen that surfaced on TheDirty.com last week and new topless photos that surfaced on TMZ.com on Tuesday, which showed Prejean posing without a shirt, the beauty queen will retain her title.
"We had a little bit of a dilemma with Carrie, who is here, who is lovely and who gave a very very honest answer when asked a very tough question at the recent pageant. It's the same answer that the President of the United States gave. It's the same answer that many people gave, and at the same time it was a controversial question," Trump said. "It was a tough question it was probably a fair question because it's asked of many people and I've often said it, if her beauty wasn't so great nobody really would have cared. But that's not the way it worked out, so she gave an honorable answer, she gave an answer from her heart and I think for that she has to be commended."
Next Trump moved on to Prejean's racy photos that have surfaced online.
"Now to the pictures. We've reviewed the pictures very carefully… we are in the 21st century and I talked about relevance and the pageants have been updated tremendously. And Carrie is a model, she's a very successful model, we have determined – and we have the absolute right under the contract – we have determined that the pictures taken are fine," Trump continued. "So, we've made a determination that everything we've seen to this date that she's done, some were risque, but again, we're in the 21st century, so we've made a determination that the pictures taken were acceptable they were fine in many cases. They were lovely pictures and in some cases they were modeling pictures, so I think that's very important to understand."
Trump also addressed the strife between the co-directors of the Miss California USA, Shanna Moakler and Keith Lewis, and Prejean.
"The last thing… is we have Keith and Shannon from the pageant, the directors of the Miss California pageant. I met them today for the first time…they were having some miscommunication with Carrie. The communication, I believe, is totally solved. They are really getting along very well. They've been meeting for hours in my office and I really think that they are and have developed a relationship that they didn't have before," Trump continued. "Carrie will remain Miss California. She, I believe will do a fantastic job.
Adding, "And I think that Carrie will go down as somebody that Shanna and Keith will be very proud of in the end.
Trump also commented about the ordeal Prejean has endured.
"She's really taken a tremendous amount of abuse… by people who shouldn't be handing out abuse," he said. "But, she's strong, she's smart, she's tough and she's very nice. And she's also very beautiful and that's why she's Miss California and that's why she came in as runner up in the Miss USA pageant."
Following Trumps announcement, Prejean spoke, saying, "Three weeks ago I was asked a politically charged question, with a hidden personal agenda. I answered my question honestly and sincerely from my heart. I was very careful to articulate in saying that I did not want to offend anybody and that this is how I was raised and this is what I believe a marriage should be - between one man and one woman."
"Immediately after the pageant, judge number eight (Perez Hilton, not mentioned by name) began a cultural firestorm in the media, it went national. As he was trying to be self promoting and hateful," she continued. "Let me be clear, I am not an activist or anything, nor do I have a personal agenda. I was thrown into this firestorm from the time I was asked the question on stage. I have become an advocate for the importance of not redefining marriage based upon my own upbringing and beliefs while I am not the most vocal proponent of traditional marriage; it appears by my singular response I have become the most visible."
Prejean then addressed the leaked that surfaced following the pageant.
"I need to address some concerns, rumors and hateful attacks that have been reported about me as recent as this morning. First, my faith commands us to forgive one another. This means anyone who has made malicious slanderous or untrue allegations about me. And I willingly forgive them before all of you today. But I believe no one should be silenced. If they are speaking from their heart," she continued.
"I am a model, I am a Christian. Many of you are aware of an Internet photo that was posted of me when I was 17 years old and first entered into the modeling industry. A girlfriend took some shots of me at home to include them in my portfolio, which were submitted, to several different agents. As the photo was intended for application rather than publication and I did not and I did not anticipate anyone was in a position to release such an image."
As previously reported on Access Hollywood.com, On Monday, TheDirty.com released another racy photo they claim to be Prejean. The Web site said they would post the "images of all images" on Wednesday.
After the first photo of Prejean surfaced online last week, her spokesperson told Access that the beauty queen was 17 or under when the pictures were taken.
Prejean's spokesperson also said the photos were shot by a friend or family member to be used in a portfolio. Her spokesperson told Access that Prejean directed the photo session and someone else actually shot them.
In addition, Prejean penned a handwritten note to Access, reiterating her age at the time of the photograph.
"The photo in question was taken was I was a minor, several months before the 2005 pageant," the note, dated May 5, 2009, read. "The photo was not meant for disclosure to the general public."
According to page 15 of her Miss USA contract, obtained by Access Hollywood, she was barred from being "photographed in a state of partial or total nudity."
Prejean's contract with Miss California USA also prohibited nudity, stating on page five, "appearing in public or permitting myself to be photographed in a state of partial or total nudity or in a lewd, compromising or sexually suggestive manner constitutes a violation of this provision (this includes photographs of images that may appear on any Web site, such as MySpace of Facebook)."
Prejean told Access two weeks ago that she felt targeted because of her stance on traditional marriages, saying, "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures including lingerie and swimwear photos."
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
PLAY IT NOW: Donald Trump: Is Miss California Fired? (May 7, 2009)
PLAY IT NOW: Miss California's Nude Photo Controversy (May 5, 2009)