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Hannity

Prejean on Keeping Crown, Photo Scandal

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And Miss California, Carrie Prejean, joins me live in our New York studio.

Well, you've had a very slow day today. Nothing really going on, right?

(LAUGHTER)

Very nice to see you again.

CARRIE PREJEAN, MISS CALIFORNIA: Well, I'm very glad to be here.

HANNITY: Well, congratulations, although you — you'd really didn't care one way or the other. You said to me principle is what matters at the end of the day.

Video: Watch part 1 I Part 2

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: But you had won this fair and square.

PREJEAN: I did. I did. And I believed that Donald was going to make the right decision.

HANNITY: Well, he didn't say the words "you're fired," so that's a good decision.

By the way, we've got to offer you a big congratulations as we start the program. Tomorrow is your birthday.

PREJEAN: Yes.

HANNITY: And you're all of 22. Congratulations.

PREJEAN: Thank you.

HANNITY: That's great. You know, first of all, even before we get started, I've got to thank you about something. You have single-handedly found an issue that Sean Hannity, a Christian conservative, right-wing leaning talk show host, not liked by liberals, that I agree with, Barack Obama agrees with, and Hillary Clinton all agree with.

I mean the majority of the country agrees with you. All of the people in California agree with you.

PREJEAN: Isn't it funny? It's funny how a beauty pageant contestant gets criticized and ridiculed then persecuted because of it.

Should Carrie have kept her crown? Sound off on The Great American Blog!

HANNITY: Do you agree with Donald? And I'm a friend of Donald Trump's, I like Donald a lot, and I knew he'd make the right call. I had no doubt in my mind. But he said it had to do with your beauty. Do you agree with him?

PREJEAN: Well, it's Donald Trump talking and he's all about, you know, promoting beauty and he loves beautiful women. I mean, it's Donald Trump. And I think he really believed in me, and he's — he believed in the fact that I stood by my beliefs, and that's what it comes down to.

All this other stuff, that really doesn't matter. It matters that I was on that night, on that stage, and I answered a question that was a politically charged question with a hidden personal agenda, and I think he realized it.

HANNITY: Yes. One of the things that I found so interesting today. There were a couple of points that were really powerful to me. And you talked about how this undermines constitutional rights, that your grandfather fought for.

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: Your grandfather fought under Patton. I mean, tell us that story.

PREJEAN: Well, you know, my grandfather passed away when he was 84 years old, about four years ago, and he just instilled in me, he said Carrie, I fought for your rights, for your freedom, and you need to remember that, and you need to remember that — you know, you're an American, and don't let anyone ever, you know, take those freedoms away from you.

And so through all this, I'm just so grateful that my grandfather instilled that in me since I was a little girl.

HANNITY: You said I exercised my freedom of speech, and I was punished, and you used the words, "This should not happen in America."

PREJEAN: This should not happen in American.

HANNITY: Go into detail, because I agree with you. And I thought that was particularly powerful. Explain what you meant.

PREJEAN: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Right now I could say whatever I want right here.

HANNITY: Because we live in the greatest country.

PREJEAN: We live in the greatest country in the world. And, you know, I just think that it's so ironic that I have the same beliefs as our president of the United States, the secretary of state, like you said, and the vice president.

I mean, so many people have the same beliefs as I do, but why am I punished because of it?

HANNITY: Yes, and you answered nicely and you answered delicately.

PREJEAN: I did.

HANNITY: You said I know there are people that disagree, so then the question is why did this become such a big deal?

PREJEAN: Well, it was Perez Hilton's hidden agenda that he had.

HANNITY: What do you think that is?

PREJEAN: Well, he's a gay activist, and he's very famous for, you know, insulting, particularly women. He doesn't insult men very often, and this would not be happening right now had he just, you know, gone on his way and said I don't believe in what she said, but that's her opinion.

But he decided to make that video, not even an hour after the pageant had ended, and that's when the firestorm had begun.

HANNITY: You know, I kind of knew this because I know Donald Trump, and he really went to bat for you today, and he pointed out you had taken a lot of abuse. Why don't you bring people into exactly, for example, Perez Hilton, actually used the word — called you a dumb B-word, said if you had won the crown, he was going to rip it off your head.

I mean tell me about some of the other abuse that you experienced.

PREJEAN: Well, he pretty much called me every name in the book. My 90-year-old grandmother has had a lot of abuse lately. You know the press and paparazzi going to her house, and she's 90 years old. And you know, they're just drilling her, they're drilling my family, they're — you know, making personal attacks just because I stood up for what I believe in, and it's not right. It's not right, Sean.

HANNITY: One other thing, it isn't right, because, you know, for whatever reason, there isn't tolerance for speech. And, for example, there have been a lot of people that want to take me off the radio and television because they don't like my views.

It seems like you were being very tolerant, but there's an emerging intolerance to the left. I didn't like what they said about Rush Limbaugh, for example, you know, at this correspondent's dinner, and the president of the United States laughing at the joke about Rush dying.

PREJEAN: I was just watching that, actually.

HANNITY: Yes. Do you think there is intolerance from certain sectors?

PREJEAN: I do. I — I mean this is proof that there is. I'm very tolerant of other people's views and opinions and beliefs, and it really showed that this individual is not tolerant of other people's beliefs.

And, you know, I want to thank the gay community, have come out and said hey, we're sorry. This does not represent who we are. You know, we appreciate the fact that you did stand up for what you believe, even though we don't agree with you. You know, we can agree to disagree.

HANNITY: You said it in a nice way, and by the way, one thing I've got to say is, folks, I wouldn't want anyone examining my life when I was 16 and 17. You know?

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: And you said that to a reporter today, I was like, good for you. You know? There comes a point where, I think, we get a little too deeply into people's personal lives, and it's like, all right, do you remember what you did at 16?

PREJEAN: Well, what they're trying to is discredit me. They're trying to discredit me and undermine me, and you know, they can say whatever they want. The decision was made today.

HANNITY: Why did you call — you wouldn't use his name, Perez Hilton. You called him judge number 8 and you did that throughout the press conference. Why?

PREJEAN: I'm not even aware of his real name. I believe it's Mario something, but you know, that was my way of just, you know, saying that he's not really the issue here. The issue is, like you said, intolerance, and me just basically standing up for my beliefs.

HANNITY: Donald Trump, and I really knew — I had no doubt Donald would make the right call here, and I actually thought he showed a real lot of compassion, and I thought he was really great with Tara Connor. I know that was the right decision.

The only thing I have a question about, I was a little surprised, especially after the mean spirited things that Perez Hilton has said that he said that he would keep him on as a judge.

PREJEAN: Well, I think the question was would you have him back, and he said I'd love to have him back. To me when I heard that that was very dangerous because in my mind I thought oh, my gosh, next year this could possibly happen again.

I would hope that the Miss Universe Organization would do everything to prevent what has happened to me to protect another young woman from this.

HANNITY: You said you forgave Perez Hilton, and you also talked about forgiving, basically, anybody who smeared and maligned and attacked you. And — would you ever meet with Perez Hilton if he asked? Would you talk with him?

PREJEAN: You know, if he walked in here right now, I would be more than happy to talk with him.

HANNITY: I don't see him. He's not there. All right. Now we're going to come back. When we come back, I want to talk a little bit about the pictures, because there's a big controversy. That was the second part of the issue today.

PREJEAN: And I'd love to clear some things up.

HANNITY: I know you want to do that. So we'll continue with — more with Miss California Carrie Prejean.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And we continue now with reigning Miss California Carrie Prejean.

All right. Walk us through, to get into the pageants, you have to fill out applications. Walk us through the issue of the pictures and what you told them and what the rules are.

PREJEAN: Well, there were some photos released, and I was 17 years old when this took place, this specific photo shoot, I guess you could say, took place. I was pursuing a modeling career, was completely naive, very young, wasn't really aware of the whole modeling industry.

I had taken some photos. A girlfriend took them of myself.

HANNITY: Right.

PREJEAN: And I — they were for application, not for publication, like I said today.

HANNITY: Right.

PREJEAN: Basically I submitted them to several different agents and several different, you know, photographers and things like that who then, you know, published them and released them without my knowledge.

HANNITY: It was — as you said, this was for an application.

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: Not for a publication.

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: All right. And by the way, being a model it's not a job for somebody who's, you know, concerned about modesty, I mean, in the pageant you have a swimsuit competition.

PREJEAN: Right, exactly. And I'm from California, you know. A swimsuit for us is no big deal, and...

HANNITY: It is for fat old guys in New York.

(LAUGHTER)

You know I got to see me in a swim — go ahead.

PREJEAN: Well, the photos that were released today actually just, you know, hours before the press conference. They were photographs that I was — it was a professional photo shoot, and it was held in California, and it was for a surf magazine, and I was asked before I even began the photo shoot, I said OK, what am I going to be wearing today at this photo shoot?

And he says let me show you what the previous model wore last month. They do — they feature a model every month. He showed me the girl, and she was completely topless with barely anything on the bottom, and I immediately said I'm sorry, I'm not able to do this job, I'm going to have to leave. And he said well, what do you feel comfortable doing? And I specifically said I want to be covered up.

HANNITY: Right.

PREJEAN: You know? I want to be covered up on the top. I want to be covered up on the bottom. He then, you know, provided me a vest as well as full coverage bathing suit bottoms.

And then I recently found out today that this professional photographer released photos of me in between, you know, shots of me. It was very windy, I was on a cliff.

HANNITY: So he was sneaking shots when you didn't.

PREJEAN: He was sneaking shots, exactly.

HANNITY: Yes.

PREJEAN: It would be just like someone sneaking a shot of me getting dressed. I mean it's inappropriate.

HANNITY: And that is the rule number one, you have to have trust with the photographer.

PREJEAN: Exactly.

HANNITY: Or a magazine.

PREJEAN: Exactly.

HANNITY: Which specific photos? You said some were Photoshopped? Which ones were the one that are Photoshopped?

PREJEAN: I would have to see them right here. I know that there was two or three that were actually Photoshopped from the previous photo shoot that I did with my girlfriend and I.

HANNITY: Right. Let me ask you to the extent that — where are you different today in terms of — look, it's — if you're going to be a model, that's what modeling is, that's what you do.

PREJEAN: Right. And my message to any young woman who wants to enter a pageant or get into the modeling world is, you know, when you have a contract you don't think about well, gee, how many photo shoots have I done?

You know I've done hundreds of photo shoots, and I really have to think about what photographer would totally just throw me under the bus, I guess you could say, and release these photos of me, and so you really don't think about that when filling out an application. Have you ever posed nude? Of course, I have never posed nude.

HANNITY: Which is.

PREJEAN: And when they.

HANNITY: For example, I have no doubt your career is about to skyrocket. Victoria's Secret is one level. OK? Would you do Victoria's Secret?

PREJEAN: Ever — you know, beginning modeling, that was my dream.

HANNITY: To do that.

PREJEAN: To do Victoria's Secret.

HANNITY: OK.

PREJEAN: Whether it's the Pink line which is a less more revealing or, you know, to be a Victoria's Secret angel. I think that would be amazing.

HANNITY: If Playboy or any of these magazines.

PREJEAN: Absolutely not.

HANNITY: You'd say no. Absolutely not.

PREJEAN: Absolutely not. And I even got a ridiculous offer by Vivid Entertainment to do a $1 million pornographic film which I think is ridiculous.

HANNITY: All right. Let's talk a little bit about what happened at the meeting with Donald Trump today, because it went on for a long period of time and apparently you were able to work out issues. Bring us behind the scenes. What happened today?

PREJEAN: Well, this morning we all met with Donald Trump. I basically explained to him that I would like...

HANNITY: He's fun. Isn't he? He is fun.

PREJEAN: He's a great guy. He really is. He really believes in empowering women, and he supports what's right, and so I basically just told him, please allow me to let my voice be heard. I would like...

HANNITY: Right.

PREJEAN: You know the Miss California Organization held a press conference the day before, and they had their opportunity to let their voices be heard.

HANNITY: What was this miscommunication that he talked about between you and the pageant people?

PREJEAN: Well, we haven't been communicating one way or the other. I've been dealing with — you know, a public relations firm as well as lawyers, and they've — you know, had lawyers and things, and so we really haven't been able to communicate except for today which I think is great, and we are very, very excited to move forward, and I'm very excited to continue being Miss California.

HANNITY: You've had this outpouring of support, and you reiterated your view on this controversial topic again today, and you even said that you're the most visible opponent.

PREJEAN: Right.

HANNITY: Are you going to continue to speak out on not only that issue but other issues that are important to you?

PREJEAN: Well, I'm not the vocal proponent, like I said, you know? But I am the most visible one right now just because I said a marriage is between a man and a woman.

HANNITY: Right.

PREJEAN: And it's just — it's ironic to me that this is all happening because of one single answer that I gave at Miss USA.

HANNITY: You talked a lot about your Christian faith, about your values, and how you spent a lot of time today, it was really interesting to watch you, because I don't think a lot of people have the strength to just go out there, lay it on the line, take all the criticism.

And you wanted to encourage young people, and through your faith and through these things, what do you want to say to those kids about speaking up and not backing down, because that's really the story that has emerged here?

PREJEAN: Well, first of all, I want to say I'm speaking on behalf of Carrie Prejean, not as anyone at the Miss California USA organization. But basically my message to young people, to people of all ages, is just stand up for what you believe in. Don't compromise your beliefs, you know?

Don't be afraid of the criticism that you might get just because you stand up for what you believe in, and I think a lot of people are inspired by my story. And I — I'm still standing and I'm standing strong.

HANNITY: Well, I agree with you from the beginning and you told me I was the only one that ever had the courage politically to say that.

PREJEAN: And I appreciate that about you. I mean that.

HANNITY: And I also think what they said and did to you was unconscionable and unfair and brutal and mean. Where were the feminist groups to stick up for Carrie Prejean? Where were they?

PREJEAN: I have no idea.

HANNITY: Never came to your defense. Not one time.

PREJEAN: Mm-mm.

HANNITY: And — but that you said there have been gay activist groups that have?

PREJEAN: There've been...

HANNITY: Individuals.

PREJEAN: Sean, I've had thousands of letters. I mean I get letters every single day just from people, and it's really encouraging. It's very, very encouraging to hear this, but you know, the gay community has reached out and said this isn't a representation of who we are and so we're sorry on behalf of this individual.

HANNITY: What's next for you? What's the big career goal at this point?

PREJEAN: I'm very excited to see where this all leads me. I've had so many opportunities come my way. Maybe working for you some day.

HANNITY: Come work at FOX. Well, you're hired. Do I have any say to this? I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

You brought me, Barack Obama and Hillary together. That's a lot. That's a lot of unity.

PREJEAN: I know. Exactly.

HANNITY: I admire your courage.

PREJEAN: Thank you.

HANNITY: And your outspokenness. And how you've handled this with a lot of grace. Now you were willing to forgive Perez Hilton. I have — I need to grow. I'm not where you are yet. So I'm going to work on that. OK?

PREJEAN: Thanks.

HANNITY: Carrie, good to see you. Come back and see us. We appreciate it.

PREJEAN: Thank you very much.

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