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Sparking Controversy – Miss USA 2010 contestants in racy photos

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About a year after Carrie Prejean was stripped of her Miss California title for racy modeling photos among other factors, the 2010 Miss USA pageant contestants released racy photos of their own.

The photos are up on the official Miss USA website and feature all of the contestants posing in nothing but lingerie, stockings and men’s shirts.

Pageant officials are defending the photos calling them tasteful. According to the president of the Miss Universe Organization, Paula Shugart, the photos are part of this year’s pageant theme called “Waking up in Vegas.” Shugart also argued that the photos reflect the changing times and showcase the contestant’s modeling talents because many of them aspire to be Victoria’s Secret models, not to bring world peace.

The photos are spurring debate because of past scandals in the pageant world involving photos not unlike these. Back in 1984, Vanessa Williams was crowned the first African American Miss America only to have that title taken away when nudes photos she had taken two years prior were published in Penthouse magazine.

In 2006, Miss Nevada Katie Rees lost her crown when scandalous photos of her kissing other women and simulating sexual acts surfaced on the internet.

Also in 2006, Miss USA Tara Conner nearly lost her title when reports claimed she had been seen drinking while under age. Conner later tested positive for cocaine and heroin and was sent to rehab. Donald Trump, part owner of the Miss Universe organization, defended Conner and allowed her to keep her crown while she attended rehab.

Despite Carrie Prejean’s anti gay marriage comments and racy photos she was allowed to keep her crown last May. Photos of the San Diego native modeling in very little clothing were published on TMZ.com and another photo of Prejean posing topless also made its way onto the internet. Still Donald Trump defended the beauty queen calling the photos “risque” but “acceptable.” However a month later Trump and the Miss California USA Organization fired Prejean for violating her contract for making unauthorized appearances for outside organizations.

Groups like Concerned Women for America are denouncing the photographs of this year’s 51 contestants because they believe the photos send the wrong message to young girls who may look to the women in the Miss USA pageant as role models. Certainly the photos seem hypocritical considering the past scandals. It seem the Miss USA pageant is no longer just a scholarship competition.

The pageant organizers wanted to stir some publicity for the pageant because its popularity has been falling for some time — and they did just that. The Miss USA pageant will air this Sunday, May 16th on NBC at 7p, so if people did not know about it before they sure will now.

*Photo from jsr00001 via Flickr

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