Beauties Behaving Badly

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As you all know, the world has been riveted in recent days by an ongoing struggle against oppression and injustice.

Also, I think there is something going on in Iran.

Here at home, tensions continued to escalate as Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California USA, remained at war with pageant officials and the organization's Supreme Leader, Donald Trump.  Reports on Friday said that Prejean's lawyer, Charles LiMandri, had issued an ultimatum to Trump and the pageant's executive director, Keith Lewis: stop what you are doing or you will be responsible for the consequences.

LiMandri said in a letter that Lewis's statements on "Larry King Live" last week, accusing Prejean of missing public appearances and other "contract violations," had caused his client severe emotional distress and tarnished her reputation.  Lewis claimed Prejean was fired (sorry, "dethroned") for the contract violations rather than for her controversial statements opposing same-sex marriage.  LiMandri called that both an "outright fraud" and a "complete and utter pretext."  He appeared to concede that she had missed at least some appearances, but suggested that those had been unreasonable requests.  Prejean expected to be sent to "Rotary conventions and avocado festivals," LiMandri said, not to be required to "accept Mr. Lewis's invitation to attend a gay documentary in Hollywood promoting same-sex marriage."  Maybe that was asking a bit much, given Prejean's beliefs, but let's not blame the documentary.  It didn't choose to be gay.

The war of words featured classic language from lawyer and public-relations guy alike.

"Please view this letter as a last opportunity for Mr. Lewis to retract the defamatory statements," LiMandri wrote.  "If he does not comply, I will have no alternative but to recommend that Ms. Prejean proceed to do so through litigation."  "Facts are facts, and we stand by them," Lewis responded.  "Mr. LiMandri obviously has never watched 'The Apprentice' if he believes that Mr. Trump could be so easily fooled."  Now that's quality work.

Also on Friday, another beauty queen lost her title, this one in Puerto Rico.  Organizers of the Miss Petite Puerto Rico pageant said that Keishla Villafane Rivera had not only violated her contract, but had engaged in a course of "intolerable conduct" that included coarse language, assaults, and even death threats allegedly directed at pageant staff by the five-foot-two Villafane.  (Competitors for the Miss PPR title must be 5' 5" or shorter.)  "We were trying to handle this conduct of hers, but it was impossible," said a spokeswoman.  "It was constant."  She did not give details, but said they would be included in a forthcoming lawsuit against the former queen.

According to the report, "[b]eauty contests are taken very seriously in Puerto Rico," which has been home to no fewer than five winners of the Miss Universe pageant.  That pageant was taken seriously enough last year that one contestant claimed she had been sabotaged by someone who "dous[ed] her evening gown and bathing suit with pepper spray."  An investigation was later dropped.

Link: (Prejean)
Link: Huffington Post (Villafane)