A day after Miss Pennsylvania angrily turned in her sash and called the Miss Universe Organization “fraudulent” and “trashy’’ on Facebook, organization co-owner Donald Trump retaliated Wednesday by saying she can expect a lawsuit.
Sheena Monnin, 27, alleged that Sunday’s Miss USA competition was fixed and that she saw a list that intimated that the top five contestants were selected before Sunday’s show. Trump considers it a case of sour grapes.
“What we’ve authorized today is we’re going to bring a lawsuit,’’ Trump told Ann Curry on TODAY. “She said some really strong things. When she’s using the word ‘fraud,’ that’s pretty strong, so we’re going to be suing her on that basis. I did see her for about a second. I never felt that she had a chance, and all this is is buyer’s remorse.’’
An investigation has been conducted, said Trump, and no evidence was found of a list that details the five finalists in advance.
“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,” Monnin wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “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 person that supposedly showed the list (to Monnin) totally denies that that ever took place,’’ Trump said. “This is a girl who went there, lost, she wasn’t in the top 15, and she’s angry at the pageant system.’’
Pageant officials claimed that Monnin resigned for a different reason, saying she disagreed with the organization’s decision to allow transgender contestants. The MUO altered its rule book in April to allow for transgender women like Miss Universe Canada hopeful Jenna Talackova to compete for the crown.
Organization officials released an email sent to them by Monnin that 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.”
Miss Rhode Island, 20-year-old cellist Olivia Culpo, won the Miss USA crown on Sunday and expressed her support for transgender contestants. Culpo moves on to the Miss Universe pageant, where she will represent the United States.