Carrie Prejean, Shana Moakler

Denise Truscello/Getty Images, Bruce Gifford/Getty Images

Like it or not, Carrie Prejean is going to make sure Miss California pageant officials have a religious experience. And a litigious one.

The infamously ousted beauty queen runner-up has filed suit against codirectors Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler, among other pageant officials, for slander, libel, public disclosure of private facts, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and—you knew this one was coming—religious discrimination.

Let the legal smiting begin.

In her lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court this morning, Prejean claims that winning the title of Miss California 2009, and being able to compete in the Miss USA pageant, was "fulfilling a personal dream."

Which, to hear her side of it, quickly became a nightmare.

She claims Moakler, Lewis and PR guru Roger Neal engaged in a "conspiracy" against her, making a series of "false and defamatory order to injure her reputation and to justify their plan to wrongfully revoke her title."

Guess she missed the day they taught forgiveness in Sunday school.

Her suit claims Moakler and Lewis' public comments made her "the subject of public ridicule, scorn and humiliation" and resulted in lost earnings, modeling jobs and public appearances and even incurred medical expenses for "stress-related physical symptoms."

"Despite the fact that there were no contract violations by Prejean that justified the revocation of her title, no steps have been taken by any of the defendants to restore her good name or to undo the great harm that they have caused her," her lawsuit states.

As for that religious intolerance...

Prejean claims that in February of this year, pre-gay marriage controversy, she was informed by Lewis' assistant that he "did not want her to include any reference to God in her Miss USA application materials."

Shortly after, she claims Moakler informed her "that she simply had to stop mentioning God at all...despite [Moakler and Lewis'] knowledge of her deeply held religious beliefs as a Christian and her status as a student at a Christian college."

Things took a turn for the worse April 19, when Prejean gave her infamous response to Perez Hilton.

She claims after the pageant, in which she finished as first runner-up, she was ordered by Lewis and Moakler not to attend the afterparty, as "too many people were angry with her."

Lewis and Moakler proceeded to distance themselves from the scandal-plagued finalist and her religious beliefs and, in doing so, Prejean claims, showed they had "no tolerance" for her faith.

Tensions—and alleged intolerance—only escalated from them, according to the former sash-wearer. Among other choice snubs, she claims she was informed by Neal not to talk about her faith on a Today show interview and to backtrack on her gay marriage comments; when she did not comply with their wishes, she claims Neal told her, "We are done with you. You are on your own."

A week later, the parties, after consultation with Prejean's pastor, agreed to let Prejean rally support for her personal causes, including the National Organization for Marriage, provided she did not don her tiara, sash or use her Miss California title while shilling.

Shortly after (and dare we say, inevitably), Prejean became the topic of mockery on Countdown With Keith Olbermann, an incident she cited in the lawsuit ostensibly to prove the deterioration of her reputation at the hands of the Miss California officials.

Though it's probably safe to say she earned MSNBC's vitriol all by herself.

As for those well-publicized contract violations, Prejean says they were nothing of the sort.

While Lewis cried foul on her guest hosting of Fox & Friends, Prejean says the appearance was set up by none other than Miss Universe overlord Donald Trump himself (wisely not included in her lawsuit). The same day as her pundit gig, the since-resigned Moakler and Lewis turned up on Larry King Live to continue their campaign against her.

Prejean went on to list several other alleged wrongdoings, claiming that Lewis at one point refused to give her permission to visit servicemen and -women, resulting in her once again appealing to Trump.

As for the final straw, Lewis' public allegation that Prejean broke her contract by entering into an unapproved book deal, Prejean claims that both Lewis and Trump gave her a verbal OK on the deal.

She's seeking undisclosed, though safe to say hefty, damages and attorney's fees.

In a statement, Lewis blasts the legal action as a shameless PR grab. "I would guess Carrie sees it as a chance to get publicity for her upcoming book because in the interviews I have seen, she talks about the suit and the book in the same breath," he says.

"For us, it has never been about her beliefs and we have always just wanted to move on.

"But it seems like Carrie really has nothing new to talk about or anything new in her life so the impression is she just keeps looking for ways to rehash her position as a victim because of her onstage answer."

—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum


Carrie Prejean may be the latest, but she's certainly not the first tiara-wearer to spark a media firestorm. Check out who else fanned the controversial flames in our Beauty Pageant Scandals gallery.

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