Miss Universe Pageant Fights Back on Rigging Claim

Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin Competes in the 2012 Miss USA Pageant (AP Photo/Miss Universe Organization/Darren Decker)


By RANDY PENNELL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Miss Universe Organization says it has filed an arbitration action against a former contestant who alleges the pageant was rigged.

Pageant officials also released a statement from Miss Florida USA denying the claims made by Sheena Monnin as the reason she resigned as Miss Pennsylvania USA.

Earlier Friday, Monnin told NBC’s “Today” show she was standing by her claim that a fellow contestant told her she saw the list of finalists hours before the pageant.

Miss Universe officials say Monnin actually resigned because organizers decided to admit transgender contestants.

Monnin said there are “myriad” reasons she stepped down but the list of finalists was her primary motivation.

A lawyer for pageant organizers say the action was filed with a private dispute entity named in the contestant contract.

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