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Miss USA organizers' intimidating questions 'scaring contestants to death'

June 11, 2011 - Washington

Organizers of the Miss USA 2011 pageant have been criticized for putting controversial and intimidating questions to the contestants.

In on-camera interviews set to be posted on the official Miss USA website, 2011 pageant hopefuls are being asked if they believe evolution should be taught in schools, and if they would ever pose for nude photographs, reports Fox News.

Though Paula Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) that also operates Miss USA, says these "topics are very relevant and in the news," others wonder if MUO is just trying to repeat a similar Carrie Prejean-style controversy in the days preceding its June 19 live telecast.

Prejean was a 2009 Miss USA pageant representing California, who came under controversy after she answered to a question about gay marriage during a live telecast.

"I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised," she had said in the live telecast.

Later, after her nude photos were published, she lost her Miss California title.

"The girls are scared to death. They witnessed with Carrie Prejean how a firestorm can create a road kill, and nobody wants to be part of a situation like that again," said Keith Lewis, who was embroiled in the Prejean saga and is now the executive state pageant director for California, New York and New Hampshire.

"The girls are concerned that there is a right or wrong answer. Polarizing questions often create a situation where you suffer ... if you agree, and if you do not. The girls need to answer in a way that brings them to a common ground," she said.

Publicist Angie Meyer, who has worked with the Miss USA organization, added, "The pageant officials are intimidating contestants into answering questions a certain way that are deemed 'politically correct' while discriminating against their own belief and opinions."

"The Miss USA organization is choosing topics that are not only controversial, but intimidating," she stated.


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