ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Miss California in Breach of Contract?

Miss California - Carrie Prejean - has been getting a lot of press play lately.  Just recently, at the Miss USA pageant, she got into a little bit of a jam when responding to Perez Hilton's question about same-sex marriage.  Now, in a story written for ContractsProf Blog, the LA Times reports that she may lose her crown for breach of contract:

Officials with the Miss California USA Pageant said today in Beverly Hills that title-holder Carrie Prejean is in breach of contract and "entered the contest under false pretenses." Donald Trump, who owns the Miss USA pageant, will decide tomorrow whether she will keep her crown.

Prejean didn't inform contest officials about her involvement with anti-gay marriage organizations and failed to show up for public appearances as required under her contract with the Miss USA organization, said Keith Lewis and Shannon Moakler, co-executive directors of Miss California USA.

Prejean's brief reign has been clouded by controversy over semi-nude photos and her comments on gay marriage. She made national headlines last month when during the Miss USA pageant she said that marriage should be between a man and woman.

She said in later interviews that she does not support gay marriage (California voters voted to prohibit gay marriage last November). Some have questioned whether her comments cost her the Miss USA title, and she's been the subject of much criticism from pro-gay-marriage activists. Her supporters believe she is being singled out because of her views on gay marriage, which they say are the same as President Barack Obama's.

Now, Miss California officials say they are looking into whether Prejean violated rules by working for a group opposed to gay marriage and by posing semi-nude. It's unclear whether she could lose her California crown if officials determine that she broke the rules. Prejean has said she did nothing wrong.

Donald Trump, who runs Miss USA, told KIIS-FM (102.7) radio last week that he would review the photos. California pageant officials said they first thought that there was only one racy photo but have since discovered there are four. “This completely changes things for us,” Keith Lewis, co-director of the Miss California USA pageant, said last Wednesday in a statement. “Yesterday, we thought she had explained things accurately. We need to revisit this issue with her."

The Donald loves a controversy -- suddenly people are actually paying attention to his Miss USA enterprise (for other examples see this and this).  I think he'll tell Miss California: "You breached the contract.  You're fired."   

[Meredith R. Miller]

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