Despite former Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin said she wouldn’t back down from her claims that Sunday’s televised Miss USA was fixed.
“I feel prepared to continue to pursue the truth,” the 27-year-old beauty queen said during an appearance Friday morning on NBC’s Today show. “I know what I heard and I know what I in turn witnessed come true.”
Monnin, a Cranberry resident, that a fellow contestant in Sunday’s competition saw a list of the top five women in the pageant before judging began on the show. She also called the organization fraudulent, lacking in morals and trashy.
The woman who told Monnin about the list has since been outed as Miss Florida, Karina Brez.
In a statement released through the Miss Universe organization, Brez said that mentioning the list was “a throwaway comment” and “never meant as fact,” NBC reports. Brez added that she feels Monnin is “using this situation for her own ends.’’
Monnin, who told Today’s Ann Curry she has years of psychological training, said she didn’t take Brez’s words as a joke. She bristled at Curry’s suggestion that maybe she misunderstood Brez.
“I know when someone is telling a joke. I know when someone is scared and when someone is serious,” she said. “In my opinion, her body language was very serious and she looked a little bit scared because she had just seen something that would potentially, drastically change the reputation of the Miss Universe organization. This is a big deal."
The Real Reason for Resignation?
The Miss Universe Organization, which runs the Miss USA competition, said in a statement the real reason Monnin resigned was because did not agree with the organization's decision in April to admit transgender contestants. The move allowed Jenna Talackova, a natural-born male who faced disqualification, a chance to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
Monnin acknowledged Friday she did not agree with the decision to allow transgendered contestants, but that she quit for a “myriad of reasons.” During a conversation about the policy she had with Pennsylvania state pageant director Randy Sanders two months ago, Monnin said Sanders suggested formulate her opinion on the topic in case she was asked about it during the pageant.
“I thought that was fair so I continued to serve the title. I continued to prepare for Miss USA,” Monnin said.
A Message for Trump
During an interview on the Today show Wednesday, Trump threatened to sue Monnin for her statements.
“When she’s using the word ‘fraud,’ that’s pretty strong, so we’re going to be suing her on that basis,” Trump said.
The mogul later told E! News he would not purse litigation for “massive damages” if Monnin apologized in writing and withdrew her claims.
But Monnin said she has no intentions of standing down. She told Curry she has received legal documentation and that she is considering several options.
She also had a message for Trump.
“My message is very simple, I would like the truth to be known,” she said. “I am not here to destroy anyone, I am not here to bad talk about anybody. My heart and my attitude is I want to truth to be made known.”