Miss California Also-Ran Takes on the Universe
By Natalie Finn Thu Apr 10, 10:26 AM PDT
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me in public, I'll see you in court.
Christina Silva, the beauty queen who was first crowned Miss California USA 2008 before being informed there had been a miscount, has sued the Miss Universe Organization over the ordeal, which her legal camp refers to as a "sorry tale of greed, deceit, incompetence and disloyalty and their inevitable consequences."
The former Miss Los Angeles was named the winner of the run-up to the Miss USA pageant on Nov. 25; three days later Miss California officials informed her of the "human error" that led to the screw-up and asked her to please call the real winner, Miss Barstow Raquel Beezley, to pass on the news.
Silva was told she could keep the actual crown and the $4,500 Miss California USA necklace she had been given—as well as recoup her $1,500 entry fee and compete again for free—but that apparently didn't cut it for the scorned Silva, who turned out to scorned second runner-up.
Alleging fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation, negligence, false advertising, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and several other torts, she is seeking at least $500,000 in damages to compensate for the "public humiliation, mental anguish and distress, lost opportunities, lost prizes and lost monies paid to and expended on her behalf."
In her account of the experience, Silva also alleges that another defendant, pageant executive director Keith Lewis, "demonstrated preferential treatment toward some of the more 'anglo-looking' contestants."
Silva is of Ecuadorian and Mexican descent, while Beezley is reportedly part Filipino.
Lewis publicly apologized for the incident in December, saying he was sorry Silva felt "manipulated" by the process and that the Miss California USA organization supported her "quest to seek the truth."
However, he added, "At the end of the road, she won't find an ounce of discrimination, preferential treatment or impropriety. What she will find is simple human error."
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