- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Miss USA pageant fights back on fixing claim
Says accusations are ‘defamatory’
Question of the Day
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.
A statement from the organization said it was seeking compensation for her “ongoing defamatory statements,” but Mr. Balber wouldn’t say how much money the Miss Universe Organization was seeking.
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.
Miss Monnin claimed Miss Florida USA Karina Brez named the top five contestants in the same order they were called during the broadcast.
“That’s just too coincidental to not be true,” she said.
But a statement released Friday by Miss Brez disputes Miss Monnin’s account, saying Miss Brez was only making a joke about a list of contestants that she saw.
“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.
Miss Monnin does not have a listed phone number and did not respond to Facebook messages seeking comment. Attorneys for the pageant said they forwarded her the arbitration action directly because they did not know whether she had retained a lawyer.
Earlier this week, pageant organizers released the text of Miss Monnin’s resignation email; it doesn’t specifically mention rigging but does mention organizers’ decision to allow transgender contestants into the competition.
“There are a myriad of reasons why I’m resigning,” Miss Monnin said. She went on to point out that same email mentioned “fair play” but didn’t elaborate what she meant at the time.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world