Miss Calif USA still has crown at least for now 2009: Beverly Hills

Miss Calif USA still has crown at least for now

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.

-- Miss California USA Carrie Prejean got the word from angry beauty pageant officials Monday - they aren't happy with her ducking out of official appearances to proselytize against gay marriage, and if they could they would probably rip that tiara right off her head. But they can't. Only Donald Trump, as grand poobah of their parent Miss Universe Organization, holds that kind of power. So officials, worried about Prejean's shunning of pageant appearances in favor of speaking out against gay marriage at church gatherings and other events, announced they are doing the next closest thing to canning her. They are appointing Miss California USA first runner-up Tami Farrell as a "Beauty of California ambassador" who will fill in at any events Prejean doesn't attend. Trump was expected to announce whether Prejean will remain Miss California USA at a news conference in New York on Tuesday. Prejean didn't attend Monday's news conference, but one of her publicists, Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications, said she would be at Tuesday's event and would issue a statement in response to the California pageant officials' remarks then. Asked if Trump had been asked to fire her, state pageant co-executive director Keith Lewis said: "We've given alternate opinions and we've said, 'Listen, we can work under whatever plan you put forward.'" Asked if one of those scenarios was to sack her, he answered more succinctly, "Well, yeah." Meanwhile, summer, the season when a beauty queen's calendar is filled with ribbon cuttings, red-carpet walks and charity work, is fast approaching, and Lewis said that means it is time for his organization to put aside distractions and "get back to the business of beauty."

And pageant officials also did just that on Monday, using their news conference at a swanky Beverly Hills hotel to unveil an announcement recorded by Farrell, a former Miss Teen USA, and numerous other past pageant winners to promote the "Beauty of California" campaign.

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