Miss California is keeping her crown.
Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA pageant, announced Tuesday that he didn't object to semi-topless photos of first runner-up Carrie Prejean that recently surfaced online. Prejean charged that some of the photos are fake, and denounced pageant judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton for what she called a "self-promoting and hateful" campaign against her.
Prejean was named the runner-up at the Miss USA pageant on April 19 after answering a question from Hilton, an advocate of same-sex marriage, about her stance on the issue. She said she didn't want to offend anyone, but believed every marriage should be limited to a man and a woman.
Hilton and others later highlighted the semi-topless photos, suggesting that she had misled pageant officials about any risqué photos taken in her past.
At the news conference, Prejean referred to Hilton only as "Judge Number Eight" and accused him of asking "a politically charged question with a hidden personal agenda."
Trump said Prejean gave a "very, very honest answer when given a very tough question... It's the same answer that the president of the United States gave. It's the same answer that many people gave."
Trump said he reviewed the semi-topless photos that Prejean said she submitted to modeling agencies. "We've made a determination that the pictures taken were acceptable, they were fine, in many cases they were actually lovely pictures, and in some cases they were modeling pictures."
Prejean also said other pictures of her that have emerged online were Photoshopped, and became tearful as she recounted her grandfather fighting in World War II to protect her Constitutional rights. "I exercised my freedom of speech and I was punished for doing so," she said.
Trump also said Prejean had worked out "miscommunications" with Shanna Moakler and Keith Lewis, co-directors of Miss California USA. Lewis and Moakler had appointed the state pageant's first runner-up, Tami Farrell, as the organization's ambassador. They noted that Prejean has missed some Miss California USA appearances, despite finding time to travel the country talking about marriage.
This is the second time Trump has come to the defense of a high-profile pageant winner: He allowed Miss USA Tara Conner to keep her crown amid reports she had frequented bars while underage.
What do you think? Should Miss California have kept her crown?