Miss California USA's executive director says the pageant would never try to silence new titleholder Tami Farrell's stance against gay marriage.
Keith Lewis said that he wants all of the beauty contestants he deals with to be able to voice their opinions as long as they don't violate their contracts.
Former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean, who was given a second chance earlier, lost her title Wednesday after Lewis said she skipped pageant events while speaking out against gay marriage during unsanctioned appearances.
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In a television interview Thursday, Farrell said she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman. But she added: "I don't think I have the right or anybody has the right to tell somebody who they can or can't love."
Prejean contends she was fired because of her belief about same-sex marriages, not about missing appearances. She told Lauer on NBC'S "Today" show Friday that she "absolutely" had been dethroned because of the comment, when she said marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“Matt, I am here right now talking to you because of the answer I gave on that stage and this is just the proof and it’s a test to Americans that tolerance needs to be a two way street, and it’s not,” Prejean said.
Lewis denied those allegations; he said she missed appearances that were significant to her contract.
“I think a question that nobody has asked me Matt… is what did I do prior to this controversy as Miss California? What were my duties and what were the appearances that Mr. Lewis had asked me to do? You know what? Not many people are going to believe this but I maybe did two appearances that Mr. Lewis had asked me to do.”
She said the emphasis on “appearances” is ridiculous and a stark change from what Lewis had told her before her controversial comment.
“He said ‘Carrie, your job is to compete and win Miss USA. Do not worry about appearances, do not worry about any of that, it’s not about appearances; it’s about you winning Miss USA,” she said. “Keith Lewis, he has his own hidden agenda, he has his own personal agenda, he obviously doesn’t agree with the beliefs that I have, therefore I am here today, dethroned as Miss California.”
Lewis also firmly denied allegations of encouraging Prejean to pose in Playboy.
“Absolutely not, we passed the information over as she herself instructed us in writing to do. She said do not, 'do not sensor me, pass everything into me, do not reject anything, I want to know everything I’m offered'," he said. “We followed her written directive and to say something else is really insulting, it just is, and the dog won’t hunt. I mean it’s time for us to get off this horse of being a victim, of being punished for your belief, of having organizations take you on and begin crying this issue, it’s not appropriate, it’s wrong, it’s false, move on.”