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Miss California USA Stripped of Crown

Miss California USA Carrie Prejean has been stripped of her title, officials said Wednesday, ending a turbulent reign marked by racy photos and controversy over her stance on gay marriage.

Officials for the pageant -- owned by tycoon Donald Trump -- said Prejean was being dethroned for contract violations over "unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the Miss California USA organization."

It marked an ignominious end for the blonde beauty queen, who triggered a national debate earlier this year when she voiced her opposition to same-sex marriage when answering a question posed by judge at the Miss USA pageant.

Prejean, who finished runner-up in the pageant, attracted criticism from same-sex marriage supporters following her comments, which came in response to a question from judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

Shortly after the furor, the emergence of several risque photos of Prejean taken earlier in her career prompted an investigation into whether she had violated the terms of her contract.

Despite calls for her to be sacked, Trump and Miss USA officials said she could keep her title at a press conference in New York where Prejean fought back tears.

Miss California pageant director Keith Lewis said Wednesday's Prejean's dismissal was solely for "contract violations."

"After our press conference in New York we had hoped we would be able to forge a better working relationship," Lewis said.

"However, since that time it has become abundantly clear that Carrie is unwilling to fulfill her obligations under our contract and work together."

Trump said he supported the decision to fire Prejean.

"I told Carrie she needed to get back to work and honor her contract with the Miss California USA Organization and I gave her the opportunity to do so," Trump said.

"Unfortunately, it just doesn't look like it is going to happen and I offered Keith my full support in making this decision. Carrie is a beautiful young woman and I wish her well as she pursues her other interests."

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