Ex-Miss California: I Want My Crown Back

Former Miss California Carrie Prejean said she was stripped of her crown because of her stance on gay marriage -- and she wants her title back.

"Of course I want to be Miss California," she told Billy Bush on his radio show. "I earned it. I deserved it. I won. I beat out 90 other girls. This is something that I did and I accomplished, and I would like to continue to be Miss California."

Prejean fired back at the Miss USA organization a day after it stripped her of the crown because of her "unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the MIss California USA organization," state pageant director Keith Lewis said in a statement.

"I've been cooperating with them I don't see why this is happening," she said yesterday.

But Prejean is firing back with her own accusations. According to TMZ.com, Prejean claimed Lewis asked her last month if she would appear on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" and pose for Playboy. Prejean says Lewis told her Playboy offered $140,000 for her to pose semi-nude. She rejected both offers.

Lewis responded to TMZ saying he was not pushing her to take either gig -- but merely passing the offers along.

The beauty queen also said she suspects her anti-gay marriage stance played a role in her termination.

"It's just because of my answer, I think," she said on the radio show yesterday. "None of this would be happening right now if I just said, 'Yeah, gays should get married.'" 

Lewis said officials didn't fire Prejean for her anti-gay marriage answer during the pageant.  He said the decision to fire Prejean was based on her refusal to play nice with pageant officials.

"I think that he definitely is a businessman and I know that he's looking out for my best interest and right now, I think that that maybe he [thinks this decision is the] best interest for me," she said.

The new Miss California, runner-up Tami Farrell, said she was honored to take the crown.

"I was definitely surprised, but I was honored," she said on the "Today" show. "I've been brought in to try to unify our state right now."

Less than a month ago, Donald Trump, the owner of the pageant organization, said she could keep her crown despite the public relations blowup that occurred after the Miss USA competition. 

Reality-TV star Shanna Moakler, a former Miss USA who was co-director of the Miss California USA pageant until she angrily quit after Trump refused to bounce Prejean last month, now wants back in.

"First and foremost, my faith has been restored in the Miss Universe Organization and with [pageant owner] Donald Trump," Moakler -- told UsMagazine.com.  "I believed eventually what I intimately knew would come to fruition."

She told the website TheDirty.com, "Now that Carrie has been terminated from her position as Miss California, I would consider resuming my role and responsibilities with the pageant."

Prejean was asked a question from judge Perez Hilton about same-sex marriage in California.  She said she felt marriage should be between a man and a woman.  There was a flareup in the media after that and some speculate her answer cost her the Miss USA crown.

"This was a decision based solely on contract violations, including Ms. Prejean's unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the Miss California USA organization," Lewis said in a statement.

At this point it's not clear what "appearances" Prejean has declined to fulfill.  She has been in the media spotlight of late, appearing on Fox News Channel programs among other shows.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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