Donald Trump took to the morning infotainment shows Wednesday to announce that the Miss Universe Organization plans to sue a former Miss Pennsylvania, who turned in her tiara Tuesday as she claimed that Sunday’s Miss USA pageant was fixed.
Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, was named the new Miss USA on the broadcast by NBC. The Miss USA pageant winner goes on to compete this year in the Miss Universe pageant, which is also broadcast on NBC.
The ex-Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin, said on her Facebook page that she saw another competitor correctly call out the names of the top five finalists on Sunday’s pageant “before they were announced,” based on information the competitor found in a folder before the show.
“We’re going to bring a lawsuit against this girl,” Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBC Universal, told NBC’s “Today” show co-anchor Ann Curry in a phone interview. Trump used similar language with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Monnin announced Tuesday on her Facebook page: “I knew the show must be rigged; I decided at that moment [she saw the competitor] to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own.”
“It is so ridiculous,” Trump told Curry of Monnin’s accusation, noting that the whole voting process in the franchise is “supervised by Ernst and Young and everything is certified.”
Besides, Trump noted later in the interview, “The organization doesn’t care who the top five are, or the top 10.” He added: “I mean, what difference does it make?”
“They’ve done an investigation. I just found out about it; they just reported to me about five minutes ago,” Trump told Curry in the course of their phone conversation. “The person that supposedly showed the list totally denies that that ever took place.”
Asked his first impression of Monnin, Trump said: “My impressions were she didn’t have a chance of being in the top 15, not even close. And all this is, is a girl who went there, lost, wasn’t in the 15, and she’s angry at the pageant system.”
Later, he called her reaction “buyer’s remorse.”
(Later Wednesday, Trump's lawyer contacted tabloid Web site TMZ to say the mogul had decided to give Monnin 24 hours to retract her claim in writing, before filing a lawsuit, because, the site wrote, "Donald believes everyone deserves a second chance.")
Curry noted that the pageant organization said Monnin sent an e-mail to pageant brass, saying that she did not want to be part of a pageant that allows natural born males to participate. In April, the Miss Universe Organization announced that Jenna Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago, could compete in the Miss Universe pageant this year.
Talackova did not win the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition, which would have been big news in the pageant world. And good news for NBC’s December broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant, which, in November, suffered its smallest overall audience since the mid-1970s. An average of 5.3 million people watched that show, according to Nielsen.