Beauty Queen Shocked by Ruling: Sheena Monnin Ordered to Pay $5M for Defamation of Miss USA

The former Miss USA contestant who claimed that the beauty pageant was rigged has been fined a whopping $5 million for defamation. Sheena Monnin, former Miss Pennsylvania USA, had resigned from her post after taking part in the Miss USA pageant in June. She made headlines when she publicly resigned less than 24 hours after Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo was crowned Miss USA 2012.

Sheena Monnin had posted a statement on her Facebook page:  "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 moralgrity, 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."

Monnin claimed that her fellow contestants had even seen a list of the top five girls that were chosen - even before the show aired June 3. "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. She said when the top five contestants were indeed the top five which she saw on the list, that is when she knew that it was rigged. "I decided to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own," she added.

The ruling has shocked the 27-year-old, who took to Twitter to express her disbelief. 

"Since I had no idea that an arbitration hearing had taken place until receiving notification of the judgment made against me, I would like to release an initial response," tweeted the beauty queen. "When I stated my opinion that the Miss USA pageant was rigged, I was not aware of the clause in the Miss USA contract which says that the Miss Universe Organization, Donald Trump, and others have the legal right to choose the top five winner. This is irrespective of any publicized selection process. If I would have put aside my excitement of winning the Miss Pennsylvania USA title and taken time to thoroughly read the contract that night before I signed it, I have no doubt that my response would have been the same as when I witnessed Miss Florida's words come true. I would have resigned. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support,"

According to the Associated Press, arbitrator Theodore Katz said that Monnin's allegations that the finalists of the pageant had been selected in advance were "false, harmful, and malicious and cost the pageant a $5 million fee from a potential 2013 sponsor."

Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo went on to take part in the Miss Universe pageant on Dec 18 and landed first place, becoming the first American to take the crown since 1997. 

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