Entertainment behind the scenes
Beauty queen Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California who became the darling of conservatives when she spoke out against gay marriage at this year’s Miss USA pageant, has another work getting her plenty of attention. No, it’s not her memoir, the defiantly titled “Still Standing,” that has people talking. It’s a sex tape that few have seen, but that plenty of people are jabbering about.
On Tuesday, Prejean herself went on television news shows and talked about the sex tape. In this interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Prejean defended herself and said that “nothing is private anymore.”
“It was me by myself, there was no one else with me, I was not having sex,” she told NBC News. “I sent it to my boyfriend at the time. I was a teenager, I cared about him, I trusted him.”
She added that it was “for private use” but that making the solo sex video was the “biggest mistake of my life.”
Tom Ford has branded as “disgusting” the ban on gay marriage in parts of the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The designer, who is openly gay, used a Venice press conference for his feature film debut “A Single Man” starring Colin Firth to criticize decisions like that in California in November banning same-sex marriage. He did, however, add that his movie, which is in competition at the Venice film festival was not about being gay at all, but about the human condition in general.
Now that Miss USA beauty pageant runner-up Carrie Prejean has been ousted as Miss California, what is next for the college student who became a poster woman for supporters of traditional marriage? It has been a tumultuous couple of months for Prejean, ever since her televised answer in response to a question about gay marriage, in which she said that she does not agree with it.
Miss California pageant officials say that the 22-year-old Prejean’s firing has nothing to do with her political stance on gay marriage (even though they disagree with it) and everything to do with her violating her contract and refusing to make appearances. For her part, Prejean told celebrity news website TMZ.com on Wednesday that her elimination by pageant officials was, indeed, political.
While Prejean, 21, hit the headlines last month for her opposition to gay marriage, it was the emergence of topless photos of the beauty queen that threw her reign into doubt.
At a packed news conference in New York City on Tuesday, Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump said he had viewed the photos, some of which he described as beautiful and others as risque, and deemed them acceptable.
For Miss California, first there was the gay marriage controversy. Then it was the breast implant flap. Now it’s the “semi-nude” photo imbroglio. And that last one could be the one that causes the Miss California pageant organizers to strip Carrie Prejean of her sash.
Keith Lewis, co-director of the Miss California USA pageant, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “absolutely stunned” to learn there were four photos circulating on the Internet of Prejean in her underwear with no top. Apparently, he believed there was only one photo out there. All the photos were taken long before Prejean became Miss California, and they are apparently taken in the style of a Victoria Secret advertising spread.
In a sign of how controversial Miss California’s campaign against gay marriage has become, the organizers of the Miss California pageant say they have been targeted from both gay rights advocates and foes of same-sex unions, with the former slamming them for not denouncing their tiara-holder Carrie Prejean more forcefully and the latter targeting them for distancing themselves from the comments at all.
“We’ve gotten it from both sides,” the openly gay Keith Lewis, co-executive director of the Miss California pageant, told Reuters.
Singer Melissa Etheridge has been an outspoken advocate for gay and lesbian rights. But this week the openly lesbian singer had an encounter with a man who has received no love from the gay community, the Rev. Rick Warren. He opposes gay marriage and President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Warren to give the inauguration invocation has put both men in the crosshairs of controversy. But despite all that, Etheridge wrote in an online blog post on Monday at the Huffington Post that, to her own surprise, she found out that Warren was … her fan.
Etheridge and Warren met because he was scheduled to give the keynote address at an inter-faith event organized by a Muslim advocacy group, and Etheridge was to perform there.
Etheridge confesses on her blog that at first she thought about canceling her appearance at the event, and then she talked to Warren on the phone.
“He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn’t sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher,” Etheridge wrote.
She also reported that Warren said he struggled with Proposition 8, the ballot measure that California voters ultimately approved in November eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. It’s because of Warren’s support for eliminating that right that he is under fire these days.
Etheridge is in a committed relationship with a woman and together the two are raising children. She has repeatedly criticized Proposition 8, going so far as to declare last month that she would not pay her California taxes because the state was not treating her like an equal citizen by denying her the right to marry her partner. But she has nothing but good things to say about Warren, who she described as a thoughtful man of the cloth.
“When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future,” she wrote.
Etheridge is not the first member of the gay and lesbian community to call for calm in the Warren controversy. But she is one of the most prominent lesbian figure to extend an olive branch to Warren. Will it succeed in calming tensions before the inauguration? We’ll see.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)
For months now, Lindsay Lohan has been out in public with gal pal DJ Samantha Ronson, and speculation has swirled around whether the pair are involved in a love affair. Along the way, Lohan has made vague statements about the nature of their relationship that many celebrity watchers have taken as confirmation the two are more than just friends.
The most recent entry into the Lohan/Ronson guessing game is an interview Lohan gave to Harper’s Bazaar magazine in which The “Mean Girls” star was still guarded about their relationship. Below is an excerpt from the interview in which she discusses the topic:
“…’I think it’s pretty obvious who I’m seeing,” Lindsay admits after much, much prodding. “I think it’s no shock to anyone that it’s been going on for quite some time. … She’s a wonderful person and I love her very much.”
So the rumors of a Madonna-orchestrated Britney and Justin reunion were true… kinda. The former teen sweethearts both performed with the Material Girl during her Thursday night concert in L.A.’s Dodger Stadium, but not together.
In fact, there was at least an hour between their respective appearances, so it’s anybody’s guess whether they even ran into each other backstage.
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres said she was “saddened beyond belief” at the decision by voters to ban the newly-won rights of gays and lesbians to marry in California.
Etheridge, 47, who did not get to marry her partner Tammy Lynn Michaels before the Nov 4 ballot, suggested in a blog post that she would no longer pay her California state taxes because, as a lesbian, she did not now enjoy the same rights as as other Californians.