Miss California Feels Backlash From Former Hollywood Friends and Colleagues
Former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who is now the director of the Miss California USA pageant, spent the last few weeks in Las Vegas actively promoting her pageant princess, Carrie Prejean.
But Moakler and her business partner, Keith Lewis, a strong activist against Proposition 8, were so infuriated over Prejean’s answer to Perez Hilton’s gay marriage question during Sunday’s crowning, they refused to make contact with the San Diego native after the show.
While all of the state pageant directors were quick to greet their beauty queens after the live telecast, Moakler and Lewis did not go backstage, nor did they call Prejean to congratulate her on being first runner-up for Miss USA, after Prejean told a national TV audience that she was personally opposed to gay marriage.
Instead, Moakler started Twittering.
"This is why we have judges at Miss USA, so we find the girl to rep us ALL," Moakler Twittered after the pageant.
"I don’t know how you can call a gay man or woman your friend and not want them 2 have the same joys as yourself. In my family we believe in equal rights for all, I am sad and hurt, I agree with Perez 100 [percent]. It's one thing to have an opinion I am very opinionated n have dealt with backlash from it, it's another to alienate people who cared about u."
Moakler, who sources say was very close friends with Prejean (who was first runner-up in the Miss California USA pageant in 2008 before winning in 2009), also issued an apology to her state pageant sponsors on Monday, saying that "Prejean’s opinions do not stand for those of the Miss California family."
According to sources, Moakler, who is best know as Travis Barker's wife in the MTV reality show "Meet the Barkers," and who was Playboy's Miss December 2001, said that she fully supported Lewis' condemnation of Prejean's views.
Sponsors for the 2010 Miss California USA pageant, which will again be held in Palm Springs, have not yet been finalized, and the question remains whether this year's sponsors will re-sign. 2009’s three main official sponsors -- Hotel Zoso, Palm Springs Florist, and Studio 838 -- did not respond for comment.
"Every year, tens of thousands of dollars are donated for the pageant and its prizes," explained a source close to Moakler’s team. "Already she (Moakler) has had to deal with very upset companies, because they gave so much to Carrie, and think she betrayed them. People in California, more so than most states, are particularly passionate about overturning Prop 8 --especially those in the pageant/beauty world."
"Hollywood isn’t just liberal, it is fearfully liberal. It is easier in Hollywood to say you’re a drug addict or to pretty much anything than to admit to being a committed Christian," media expert and longtime Hollywood publicist, Michael Levine of Levine Communications, told FOXnews.com.
Prejean, a student at San Diego Christian College, is studying to become a special education teacher and spends her spare time volunteering for the Best Buddies non profit organization, a program that helps people with disabilities. Prejean is also a volunteer for the Special Olympics.
But according to Equality California, a statewide advocacy group dedicated to winning equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Prejean’s views on gay marriage don't fit with those of her generation.
"It is unfortunate that Miss California, who we note did not win, is so out of touch with the overwhelming majority of people her age that she wants to deny loving, committed couples the rights and dignity that come only with marriage," said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California.
Prejean has garnered a lot of support nonetheless.
"The majority of California’s voters -- more than 7 million people -- voted to protect traditional marriage, and we congratulate Miss California for her conviction to speak her beliefs," Ron Prentice, chairman of ProtectMarriage.com Coalition, said.
Moakler’s colleague Keith Lewis released a statement to FOXnews.com Monday morning condemning Prejean and saying that "religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family." But later in the day he softened his rhetoric.
"I am proud of Carrie Prejean’s beauty and placement at the 2009 MISS USA pageant," Lewis said in a statement issued later on Monday. "I support Carrie’s right to express her personal beliefs even if they do not coincide with my own. I believe the subject of gay marriage deserves a great deal more conversation in order to heal the divide it has created."
According to sources, Lewis was deeply offended by Prejean’s response, but her reign as Miss California doesn’t end until October, so they still have to work together over the coming months.
"It will be interesting to see whether they still bother to promote Carrie and try to boost her career," an inside source said. "They can’t dethrone her because of her opinions, but they might choose just to let her fade away."
Fox News Online, Tuesday , April 21, 2009, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517277,00.html