Published August 31, 2009
Former Miss USA runnerup Carrie Prejean is firing back at California pageant officials with a lawsuit that claims the state organization discriminated against her religious beliefs, caused her emotional distress and engaged in slander, her lawyer confirmed to FOXNews.com Monday.
The 22-year-old beauty queen filed a complaint Monday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court against K2 Productions (the franchise that operates the Miss California Organization) as well as co-executive directors Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler and publicist Roger Neal.
Prejean lost her crown three months ago for what state pageant officials claimed was a “breach of contract” and failure to attend scheduled appearances.
"If Carrie had not answered the question in support of traditional marriage ... she would most certainly still be Miss California,” Prejean’s attorney Charles S Limandri told Foxnews.com. “Over the past two months we have worked hard to provide overwhelming evidence that Carrie Prejean did not violate her contract with Miss California USA and did not deserve to have her title revoked by Keith Lewis. We will make the case that her title was taken from her solely because of her support of traditional marriage. She did not want to sue, but people need to know the truth.”
The suit alleges that Lewis’ assistant emailed Prejean before the Miss USA pageant with instructions not to reference God in her Miss USA applications. The suit also alleges that after her controversial answer at the national pageant in April, Lewis told Prejean's mother that her daughter was not to attend the after-party (despite being first runner-up) as “too many people were angry with her.”
According to the suit, Prejean believes Lewis, Moakler and Neal joined gossip blogger Perez Hilton to create a “conspiracy to attack” that has caused her to suffer “emotional distress, anxiety, depression and loss of sleep.” As a consequence, the suit alleges, Prejean has been subject to “public ridicule, scorn and humiliation, lost earnings,” and has had to spend a great deal of money with stress-related medical expenses.
Prejean also claims Moakler and Lewis illegally disclosed private medical information when they allegedly leaked details of her breast augmentation surgery to the media.
In response to the filing, Lewis told Foxnews.com that he intends to file a counter lawsuit.
“It appears that suits from both sides are now inevitable against the other," Lewis said. "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. We have no problem with her selling lots of books -- considering in the current situation we could stand to profit from every copy she sells.
“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.”
Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss USA pageant, is not being sued by Prejean.