Sheena Monnin, this year Miss Pennsylvania, has sensationally resigned from her position, claiming that the weekend’s Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged.
Announcing the resignation on her Facebook account, Sheena Monnin claimed one of her fellow contestants had seen a list of the competition’s top five girls – before the show had even begun.
The unidentified contestant went on to name all five women correctly before they were announced, Sheena Monnin, 27, said in the posting.
But Miss Universe Organization has refuted the claims, saying that in a resignation email, Sheena Monnin said she was quitting as she was against new rules allowing transgender contestants to take part.
Sheena Monnin added on her post that the Miss Universe Organization, which oversees the pageant, is “fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy”.
Sheena Monnin, from Cranberry Township, won her title in December 2011. She did not place in the top 16 contestants on Sunday, leading some to brand her remarks as the mutterings of a “bad loser”.
But 12 hours after her first Facebook post, Sheena Monnin insisted her claims were correct and gave further insight into what sparked her decision.
“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 said.
The contestant told Sheena Monnin she had seen a folder lying open with a page reading: “FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012” on the morning of the show – along with the “top five” filled in.
After the 51 contestants were whittled down to 16, the woman told Sheena Monnin and another contestant what she had seen.
Sheena Monnin went on: “I said <<who do you think they will be?>>. She said that she didn’t <<think>> she <<knew>> because she saw the list that morning. She relayed whose names were on the list.”
The field was then narrowed further as the contestants went through the swimswuit, evening gown and interview rounds, with eventually the final five named.
She went on: “After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged; I decided to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own.”
After Miss Georgia, Miss Rhode Island, Miss Nevada, Miss Ohio and Miss Maryland completed the Q&A round, Olivia Culpo from Rhode Island was crowned the winner.
Miss Universe Organization, which is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump, confirmed Sheena Monnin had resigned – but gave very different reasons.
“In an email to state pageant organizers, she cited the Miss Universe Organizations’ policy regarding transgendered contestants, implemented two months ago, as the reason for her resignation,” the statement said.
“Today she has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed, however the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim.”
The statement went on: “We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight form Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win.”
In the email written on Monday by Miss Universe Organization, Sheena Monnin wrote that she was resigning.
She said: “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 moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer.”
These sentiments echo her first Facebook post – before she qualified her story.
It is not the first time a Miss USA contestant has raised eyebrows with her prejudiced views. In 2009, Carrie Prejean, representing California, was asked if she believed every state should legalize same-sex marriage.
Carrie Prejean responded: “I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.”
After Sheena Monnin posted the claims on Facebook, fans and friends commended her resignation, congratulating her for “taking the high road” and thanking her for telling the truth.
But she was also labeled a bad loser by others, including Miss USA 2010 winner Rima Fakih.
“To Miss Pennsylvania 2012,” Rima Fakih wrote on Twitter.
“So you didn’t win or place in Miss USA last night but don’t you dare disrespect my organization! Maybe that’s y u lost.”
The pageant named Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old cellist, the winner after she made it clear that she embraced all beauty queens – transgender or otherwise – during the interview portion.
In the dreaded final question round, Olivia Culpo was faced with the most difficult question of the night: Would it be fair for a person born a man to be named Miss Universe after becoming a woman?
Olivia Culpo never stumbled as she embraced the Miss Universe Organization’s recent decision to admit transgender contestants.
“I do think that would be fair,” she said.
“But I could understand how people could be apprehensive to take that road.”
Miss Iowa USA Rebecca Hodge was named Miss Congeniality, and Miss Oregon USA Alaina Bergsma was named the most photogenic. They both won $1,000, but didn’t make the top 16.
Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella crowned her successor at the end of the night.
Olivia Culpo will represent the United States at the 61st Miss Universe pageant later this year. An American has not been named Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.
THE ORGANISATION LACKS MORALS: MISS PENNSYLVANIA’S CLAIMS
On her Facebook page, Sheena Monnin wrote:
“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.”
Sheena Monnin later qualified her remarks by adding:
“Many people have sent me messages requesting and at times demanding that I come forward if I know information that has led to my abrupt and surprising resignation.
“I agree that it is my moral obligation to state what I witnessed and what I know to be true. I will relay to you the reasoning behind my resignation.
“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.
“Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said <<FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012>> and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in. Thinking she was just seeing a rehearsal fake top 5 from a previous day she walked away, then realized that it had without a doubt been labeled as the Final Show Telecast, June 3rd.
“After the Top 16 were called and we were standing backstage she hesitantly said to me and another contestant that she knew who the Top 5 were. I said <<who do you think they will be?>>. She said that she didn’t <<think>> she <<knew>> because she saw the list that morning. She relayed whose names were on the list. Then we agreed to wait and see if that was indeed the Top 5 called that night.
“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.
“That is all I know about this. If this contestant would like to step forward as an eye witness and as being the one who saw the sheet with the Top 5 already selected before the judges ever saw the Top 16, then perhaps action can be taken. As for me, I believe her words and I will not encourage anyone to compete in a system that in my opinion and from what I witnessed is dishonest.”
Sheena Monnin’s email, according to Miss Universe Organization:
“I am officially and irrevocably resigning the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. 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 moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer.
“I hereby return the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.”