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Anti-transgender pageant contestant ordered to pay $5 million for defamation

Monday, December 24, 2012

A former Miss Pennsylvania USA, who gave up her state crown shortly after the Miss Universe organization announced its decision to allow transgender participants, has been ordered pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation.

Sheena Monnin, who quit the pageant in June, told national media that the pageant was “rigged,” and that she saw the list of the Top 5 on the morning of the pageant, “before the show ever started.”

Sheena Monnin

But pageant officials refuted her claim, and said that Monnin emailed the Miss Universe organization and said allowing transgender participants was the basis for her decision:

“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.”

Pageant officials claimed Monnin’s allegations on Facebook and NBC’s “Today” show that the contest was rigged, cost the Miss Universe organization a $5 million fee from a potential 2013 sponsor.

Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump retaliated by filing the lawsuit against Monnin, calling her allegations an “utterly baseless claim.”

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz, acting as an arbitrator, agreed, and said Monnin’s statements were false, harmful and malicious.

Monnin had two motives, Katz said: “She was a disgruntled contestant who failed to make it past the preliminary competition” and she objected to the pageant’s decision to allow transgender contestants.

He wrote that the way the contest is judged “precludes any reasonable possibility that the judging was rigged.”

“We cannot allow a disgruntled contestant to make false and reckless statements which are damaging to the many people who have devoted their hearts and souls to the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems,” Trump said in a statement.

“While I feel very badly for Sheena, she did the wrong thing. She was really nasty, and we had no choice. It is an expensive lesson for her,” Trump added.

In April, The Miss Universe Organization, which operates the Miss USA pageant, announced that it is changing its rules and will allow transgender women to take part in all of its competitions starting in 2013.

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Filed under: Pennsylvania

13 more reader comments:

  1. Hah. Justice is served!

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:17pm
  2. U go girl!

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:31pm
  3. She is probably just jealous because the transgender girls are prettier than she is.

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:31pm
  4. she can always run for Miss Homophobia

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:33pm
  5. Haft the “natural born women” who compete in miss universe had have some type of plastic surgery anyway (Venezuela?).

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:37pm
  6. More like Miss Transphobia.

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:38pm
  7. Thank you for the correction, Ernesto, you are absolutely correct!

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:45pm
  8. What exactly is the cash penalty going to teach her? I’m glad she was found to be in the wrong, but our financial compensation system doesn’t really seem appropriate in this case.

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:49pm
  9. teach her not to defame and slander people… and reimburse the organization for losses they incurred do to her defamation and slander..

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:50pm
  10. What, she wasn’t naturally born? There is so much more to being female than simply the absence of a penis!

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:50pm
  11. oh no what will we do with one less homophobic barbie. Hey ken you wanna wear a dress and strut your stuff by all means be proud of who you are and just think of it this way you just 1 up’d the tramp you stole her spotlight and her crown mmmmHmm <3

    Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 8:01pm
  12. No words for close minded people. Meaning if you can’t say anything nice don’t.say anything at all.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 1:22am
  13. stupid moll..she wouldn’t last 60 seconds against a Polynesian Transgendered gal..they’d knock her on her homophobic ass quick as a flash.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 4:32pm