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Video: Prejean on sex tape: ‘Nothing is private anymore’

  1. Closed captioning of: Prejean on sex tape: ‘Nothing is private anymore’

    >>> real eerie woods, coming up.

    >>> but we begin with that surprising admission from carrie prejean . she now says she did make a sex tape . we're going to talk to her about it in a moment, but first, her story. there was a time when carrie prejean was well on her way to being the next miss usa .

    >> carrie prejean , you are our new miss california !

    >> and then the question and answer heard around the pageant .

    >> vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. do you think every state should follow suit? why or why not?

    >> i believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. no offense to anybody out there.

    >> well, people did take offense.

    >> she lost not because she doesn't believe in gay marriage . miss california lost because she's a dumb .

    >> if you read that miss california 's been murdered, you'll know it was me, wouldn't you?

    >> she's dumb and twisted. kind of like a barbie doll .

    >> she not only lost the crown, but her job as miss california .

    >> on april 19th on that stage i exercised my freedom of speech and i was punished for doing so.

    >> and then, dueling lawsuits. prejean suing miss california organizers for libel, slander and religious discrimination . the pageant countersuing for the money which helped her buy breast implants . it all had the makings of a showdown until the warring factions abruptly made peace a week ago, amid rumors the pageant had obtained a previously undisclosed sex tape . carrie prejean has now written a

    still standing: the untold story of my fight against gossip, hate and political attacks." carrie, good morning to you.

    >> good morning.

    >> before we get to the book, obviously, everybody wants to know about this sex tape that surfaced last week. there is one, correct?

    >> you could call it whatever you want to call it. if you want to call it a sex tape , that's fine, but --

    >> well, what do you call it?

    >> it was me by myself. there was no one else with me. i was not having sex . i sent it to my boyfriend at the time. i was a teenager. i cared about him. i trusted him. and you know, but the main point is that there has been a campaign against me to try and silence me for the past seven months for the answer that i gave at the pageant .

    >> so, you made this tape when you were 17 years old. is it basically an example of sexting, something you sent?

    >> um, yeah. i think now they call it sexting, but you know, it was me in the tape. you can call it whatever you want to call it. if you want to call it a sex tape , that's fine, but you know, i was by myself. i sent it to a boyfriend. it was for, you know, private use. but does that justify what i did? no. it was the biggest mistake of my life. and did i think it would come out now and haunt me? no. but i think a lot of young people can learn from this. and you know, nothing is private anymore. nothing is private. but the biggest thing, and the reason why i wrote this book is because americans believe that their beliefs are under attack, and this is proof. this is proof that their beliefs --

    >> so, you believe that somebody sent -- pageant officials got their hands on this tape. how did they get it?

    >> i have no idea. all i know is there has been a campaign against me to try to silence me. they tried to embarrass me. they've tried to humiliate me. they've tried to attack me and i'm still standing . and they can't take that.

    >> so, carrie, why did you drop the lawsuit against campaign officials? you charge them with libel and slander and religious discrimination . if you feel that strongly about it, why drop the lawsuit? were you worried about this tape becoming public?

    >> well, everything that happened in mediation is completely confidential. i made a promise, you know, not to discuss anything that was discussed in there, and if i'm the only one that's holding up to that agreement, then i stand by that.

    >> but did the tape trigger it? because you were going to sue them and then suddenly, the suit is dropped.

    >> like i said, everything that's discussed in mediation, i'm not allowed to discuss it.

    >> this book doesn't take on the sex scandal , but it takes on what happened to you during the pageant . why did you feel the need to write it? what hadn't you said that you needed to say?

    >> well, i think it's important for people to understand, i think americans only heard bits and pieces of what really happened, and i think there is a liberal bias in the media, and it's unfortunate that, you know, conservative women are attacked. they are attacked for their beliefs, you know? and it's unacceptable and it shouldn't happen. and so many americans are frustrated. so many americans believe that their beliefs, you know, are under attack and they should be silent, and free speech doesn't exist. since when does free speech not exist? since when is someone able to go on national tv and call someone the most awful names you could ever call a woman and get away with it?

    >> and you have been called absolutely terrible names, but there are people who say they want to call you out when they feel you're being a hypocrite. you write "our bodies are temples of the lord. we should earn admiration for our hearts, not for being sexy."

    >> absolutely.

    >> now people see this tape and say she's a hypocrite. she writes a novel that says one thing --

    >> well, i'm a model. i was in a beauty pageant . if people call me ihypocrite, that's their prerogative. but i've learned from my mistakes. no one's perfect. i'm not perfect. everybody makes mistakes and i think it's about taking responsibility for their mistakes. and it just so happens that seven months -- it's been seven months since i gave that answer and they have done nothing but attack me and try to silence me and keep me from spreading that message that free speech still exists, and that's the reason why i wrote this book.

    >> you say in the book you've been palinized, referencing sarah palin . what do you mean by that?

    >> you know of the attacks sarah palin 's under, don't you?

    >> but do you think as a conservative woman dprks.

    >> do you think sarah palin has been attacked?

    >> i think sarah palin 's been criticized by many people, as have many politicians.

    >> right, and there is a double standard , there is an extreme double standard that conservative women are under attack for whatever it is. if sean hannity went out there and said some of the things that keith olbermann has said about me -- you know, if he said anything about sonia sotomayor or michelle obama , he would be off the air. why is there this double standard ? that's the reason why i wrote this book.

    >> you also take on beauty pageants . you say that you owe a lot to them, so you're not taking away from that.

    >> right.

    >> but there's a part of the book where you recount what happened at the miss usa pageant before, in the days leading up to it, where donald trump , who owns the pageant , looked over the girls and held his own version of an elimination round. what did he do?

    >> well, i talk about it in my book. basically, he just went out there, and we were so excited to meet, you know, the donald at the time. and he just came out there and meeted us and shook our hands and we were so excited to meet him, but there were a lot of feelings that were hurt by some of the girls. they felt as though they weren't chosen by him, and --

    >> you say in the book he divided the girls into the ones he thought were hot and the ones who were not.

    >> right. well, he asked us, you know, how do you feel about so and so or who do you think's the most beautiful woman out here? and some of the girls were on the right side and some of the girls were on the left side, and those that were on the left were devastated. and so, i mean, there's a lot in this book that a lot of people don't know that goes on, you know, behind the scenes of pageants. it's not always what it seems to be.

    >> would you advise young women not to get involved in pageants?

    >> you know, i have learned so much and i have grown so much. there has been so many great experiences. you know, i wouldn't be here today had it not been for the pageant . in my book, i talk about a story how the pageant officials accidentally sent me to the wrong address and i ended up at a children's hospital, and it was the most amazing experience i have ever had, just being able to visit with children, and that was by accident. and so, i stayed at the hospital for about two hours and it was just, it was unforgettable. so, some of the most amazing things have happened to me since the pageant , but you know, people need to know what really happened and the truth.

    >> all right. carrie prejean , thank you so much.

    >> thank you.

    >> and the book is called, again, " still standing ." i want to say, by the way, donald trump had no comment about what you said in your book. now, let's get

TODAY books
updated 11/10/2009 8:25:09 AM ET 2009-11-10T13:25:09

In her memoir, “Still Standing,” the former Miss California recounts her infamous response about gay marriage at the 2009 Miss USA competition. An excerpt.

My moment of truth
“Next, let’s have California, Carrie Prejean.” I looked directly at Billy Bush, Access Hollywood star and host of the Miss USA 2009 pageant. I strode over to the center of the stage, trying to display ease and confidence.

Beneath the smile, however, my stomach churned with anxiety. When you’re on stage like that, though the bright lights blur out the crowd, you’re in a proverbial fish bowl: all eyes are on you. The lights make you want to squint, but you try to smile and walk across the stage naturally, even though you’ve practiced this same walk ten thousand times before.

This was my last test. We were down to five semi-finalists. One of us would be crowned Miss USA. Answering any question before a world audience of seven million people is going to be hard; mine would be a lot harder than I could have imagined.

I stepped forward and reached into a glass bowl and removed the folded card that would reveal the identity of my questioner. It was Judge Number Eight — Perez Hilton, self-styled celebrity blogger and professional gossip.

“Are we worried?” asked the co-host, actress Nadine Velazquez. “You should be,” a deep voice said into a microphone. I turned to face Perez Hilton, a jowly, boyish-looking man with blond highlights in his hair. It was his deep voice that had given me this warning — no doubt half in jest, but half menacingly too.

He asked his question: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”

It was as though I could feel time slowing down; as if silence was screaming in my ears, like tinnitus; I had to break that silence with my answer — and I had to do it now, before the silence grew and grew and crippled me, making me look hesitant or confused. I have never felt more exposed, alone, and vulnerable in my life. But I smiled my broadest smile and prepared to answer.

I was being dared — in front of the entire world — to give a candid answer to a serious question. I knew if I told the truth, I would lose all that I was competing for: the crown, the luxury apartment in New York City, the large salary — everything that went with the Miss USA title. I also knew, or suspected, that I was the front-runner, and if I gritted my teeth and gave the politically correct answer, I could be Miss USA ….

I had survived the interview, the swimsuit competition, and the evening gown competition. There was just one more event to go. To me, this last event was the easiest. After all my preparation, I knew I could do this. I just had to be myself.

Suddenly, it hit me that the long months of planning, dieting, exercising, and practicing were on the verge of paying off. If I won, I would become Miss USA, headed for the 58th Miss Universe Pageant in Nassau, Bahamas. I would be America’s girl at the most popular and most-watched beauty pageant in the world.

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Even if I only won Miss USA, it would be a platform for national exposure. It would help me land my dream job as an on-air sports journalist on a national network. But even if I looked confident as I walked toward my goal across that stage, inside I was thinking: What if I trip over my heels (as several contestants had done in other pageants) or give a painfully inarticulate answer (as had also happened and been immortalized on YouTube). This evening in Las Vegas was my chance to fall flat on my fanny in front of the whole world. I squared my shoulders. Miss Universe, Carrie, I told myself. You got this. I knew if I saw it, felt it, the dream could become reality.

Then came “the Question.”

Many commentators have called me stupid for not having the political judgment to look down from that stage at Perez Hilton and give him the answer he so desperately wanted to hear.

Instead, I said:

Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised, and that’s how I believe that it should be — between a man and a woman.

Video: Miss California: ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’ I could see Perez and the other judges slump back in their chairs, mouths gaping with disbelief. Perez’s round school-boy face sagged — he looked absolutely devastated. Perez turned away from me, refusing to make eye contact.

It was as if I had just set off an atomic bomb. After a moment of stunned silence, everyone in the audience started talking. I heard cheers and boos; then the roar of hundreds of conversations drowned out everything else.

As I later told Matt Lauer on the Today Show, I knew immediately that I would lose the competition because of my answer, because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs, and for my God. I also spoke for the majority of the people of California, but not, I was sure, for the majority of the judges on the panel. They as a group represented the values of Hollywood; those aren’t my values, and though I didn’t want to offend anyone, it was more important to me to be biblically correct than politically correct.

It’s a sad fact of life, but I knew political correctness was powerful enough to deny me the opportunity to be Miss USA. As painful as losing is, especially for a competitor like me, I could live with that because the crown was not worth winning if it meant compromising my beliefs. What I didn’t know was that merely for expressing a point of view identical to that of a majority of California voters, the President, and most Americans, I would be publicly labeled a bigot and a bitch, a Nazi, and a “c**t.” I would be the victim of a succession of well-planned dirty tricks in which the same people who put me on an airplane to New York would then hold a press conference to bemoan the fact that I was not in Los Angeles, doing my job. I would have my personal medical information and emails publicly released without my knowledge or consent. I would have personal information from my past aired publicly, as if I were running for president. I would receive a televised death threat from a prominent British politician — and no one I worked with in the Miss California or Miss USA pageants would even bother to stand up to say a word in my defense. Within weeks I would be fired as Miss California in the worst possible way, getting the news from my interviewer, Billy Bush, while I was on his radio show.

The strange part is that I would learn that I — a 22-year-old beauty queen from San Diego — had dared to speak out and say what some of the most influential people in the country will only tell me in a whisper, that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

What I went through told me something about America. There is something broken in our culture when a majority of Americans are afraid to speak out on a prominent issue. There is something sick about a political correctness smear machine that can be turned on instantly and can throw so much hatred at a young woman who dared to speak her mind.

This excerpt from "Still Standing: The Untold Story of My Fight Against Gossip, Hate, and Political Attacks" by Carrie Prejean was reprinted with permission of Regnery Publishing.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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