Miss Pennsylvania Claims Miss USA Pageant Is Rigged

Donald Trump says he plans to sue Sheena Monnin over the beauty queen's allegations that the pageant had been fixed.

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Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Miss Pennsylvania is turning in her sash and crown. Sheena Monnin, 27, has resigned from her role as Miss Pennsylvania based on her allegations that Sunday’s Miss USA competition, which is run by the Miss Universe Organization, was “trashy” and fixed.

Monnin posted the following statement on her facebook page:

I have decided to resign my position as Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. Effective immediately I have voluntarily, completely, and utterly removed myself from the Miss Universe Organization. In good conscience I can no longer be affiliated in any way with an organization I consider to be fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy. I do not support this system in any way. In my heart I believe in honesty, fair play, a fair opportunity, and high moral integrity, none of which in my opinion are part of this pageant system any longer. Thank you all for your support and understanding as I walk a road I never dreamed I’d need to walk, as I take a stand I never dreamed I’d need to take. After 10 years of competing in a pageant system I once believed in, I now completely and irrevocably separate myself in every way and on every level from the Miss Universe Organization. I remove my support completely and have turned in the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.

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In a follow up statement that has since been removed from her Facebook page, Monnin also accused the organization of staging a fixed pageant. In the statement, she claimed, “I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage.” She added, “After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged; I decided at that moment to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own.” The Miss Universe Organization addressed the allegation in a statement: “The contestant she privately sourced as her reference [for pageant-fixing] has vehemently refuted her most recent claim.”

The Miss Universe Organization has dismissed all of Monnin’s accusations as false. Donald Trump, who co-owns the group with NBCUniversal, appeared on The Today Show Wednesday claiming he intended to sue Monnin over her statements. “She made a very false charge and she knows it’s a false charge,” he said on the show. In a statement to the New York Daily News, the  organization claims that Monnin had previously told pageant officials she was resigning because she did not agree with its recent decision to admit transgender contestants.

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To support their statement, pageant officials released an email message they said they received from Monnin on Monday. The email read, “I refuse to be part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it. This goes against ever (sic) moral fiber of my being,” as reported by the Philadelphia NBC affiliate. The organization changed its policy this year after a campaign to allow a transgendered Miss Universe Canada hopeful Jenna Talackova to compete.

Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island who has voiced her support for transgender beauty queens, won the Miss USA crown on Sunday night. She will represent the United States in this year’s Miss Universe pageant.

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