PHILADELPHIA — The Miss Universe Organization said a former contestant should be made to pay for her “defamatory” claims that this year’s Miss USA pageant was a sham.
The New York-based organization made a filing with a dispute resolution company over the former Miss Pennsylvania USA’s assertion that another contestant spotted the list of finalists on a planning sheet hours before the event was even held June 3, its lawyer Scott Balber said Friday.
The pageant also released a statement from Miss Florida USA — the contestant Sheena Monnin claims saw the list — in which she disputes Miss Pennsylvania’s version of the events that prompted her to step down.
Miss Monnin gave up her crown Monday, claiming in a Facebook post that the pageant had been rigged, with the top five finishers selected before the show was broadcast June 3 from Las Vegas. Pageant organizers immediately denied Miss Monnin’s allegation and claimed she actually had stepped down because she disagreed with the pageant’s decision to allow transgender contestants.
“I know what I heard, and I know what I in turn witnessed come true based on what the contestant said she saw,” Miss Monnin said.
“That’s just too coincidental to not be true,” she said.
“The list I saw didn’t even have the eventual winner on it,” the statement read.
This year’s Miss USA winner was Olivia Culpo, of Rhode Island.
Pageant officials maintain the judging was done fairly and under the watchful eye of auditor Ernst & Young.
“[The] tabulation of the judges’ votes which determined the final five contestants did not occur until after the evening gown competition had been completed,” Ernst & Young said in a statement released Friday evening.
A group of preliminary judges selects 15 top contestants before the telecast along with a 16th picked by fan vote. Those contestants are then whittled down by the telecast judges, who this year included celebrity chef Cat Cora and Arsenio Hall.View Entire Story
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