08/31/2009 AT 5:55 PM ET
As legal battles go, it’s sash and burn.
Fallen beauty queen Carrie Prejean sued the Miss California USA pageant and co-executive director Shanna Moakler on Monday alleging religious discrimination, drawing a sharp rebuke from Moakler’s camp.
“On Ms. Moakler’s behalf, I can say unequivocally that Ms. Prejean’s lawsuit is without merit,” says Mel Avanzado, Moakler’s lawyer.
“More importantly, as everyone who watched or read her public statements is well aware, Ms. Prejean’s unfortunate and bigoted statements are responsible for any public humiliation or damages to her reputation that she has claimed to have suffered,” Avanzado added. “Ms. Moakler strenuously denies that she did anything wrong and looks forward to proving that in a court of law.”
Prejean was fired in June by pageant officials who cited missed scheduled appearances. But an attorney for Prejean says his client was ousted because of her anti-gay marriage stance. In April, during the Miss USA pageant, she stated that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Prejean, 22, is also suing for libel and slander, and also names co-executive director Keith Lewis and publicist Roger Neal in the lawsuit.