Miss California wanted to be in the public eye—now the public is getting an eyeful of Miss California.
The first of a reputed six racy photos of Carrie Prejean, donning little more than her traditional family values, leaked online yesterday and immediately sparked a new round of calls for the already controversial beauty queen—who claims she was manipulated into posing for the pic when she was underage—to be stripped of her tiara.
The photo—showing a topless, pink-underpants-wearing Prejean with her arm strategically placed—first appeared on TheDirty.com before making its way around the web. While only the single photo has been released, the site says there are five more, at least one of which is rumored to show Prejean completely nude.
The photo could affect her status as Miss California—Prejean's contract with the organization prohibits her from being "photographed in a state of partial or total nudity."
The anti-gay-marriage contestant turned traditional-marriage advocate quickly issued a statement denouncing the leak as the latest in a series of "attacks on me and my integrity as a woman."
"My comments defending traditional marriage have led to intimidation tactics that seek to undermine my reputation and somehow silence me and my beliefs, as if opinion is only a one-way street," says Prejean.
"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid website that openly mocks me for my Christian faith.
"I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be. But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive. While we may not agree on every issue, we should show respect for others' opinions and not try to silence them through vicious and mean-spirited attacks."
Prejean's rep told E! News Tuesday evening that the polarizing photo was taken when the almost 22-year-old beauty queen was 17.
"This was a photo that was taken several years ago, when Carrie was 17 and first started modeling," she said. "In her naiveté, an agent convinced her to pose for this photo to submit to a lingerie company, claiming they could make her the next Victoria's Secret model. She has since learned what a lie that was, and what a mistake it was to have the photo taken."
In the meantime, Prejean may have another brewing scandal on her hands, thanks to her controversial alignment with the National Organization for Marriage.
A statement released today by Miss Universe Organization president Paula M. Shugart confirms that officials have sent a cease and desist letter to NOM over the organization's unauthorized use of copyrighted material from the 2009 Miss USA pageant in a recent Prejean-starring ad.
Shugart assured both sides of the political argument that copyright law, and not personal beliefs, led to the legal move.
"MUO neither sanctions nor disapproves of the viewpoints expressed in the advertisement but cannot allow its copyrighted material to be used without permission to support the National Organization for Marriage's political agenda and fundraising efforts."
—Additional reporting by Whitney English
(Originally published on May 5, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. PT)
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