The Miss Universe beauty pageant run by Donald Trump said on Tuesday that it has won $5 million in damages in a defamation suit it brought against former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, who had alleged the competition of being rigged.
The New York Post reported that following the win in the legal battle, Donald Trump has said, “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 further added, “Going to arbitration was the appropriate action to take under the circumstances, and 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.”
Sheena Monnin had given up her title of Miss Pennsylvania alleging that the Miss Universe pageant was rigged and the names of the five top contestants were already decided before the contest.
After the ruling of the arbitrator Theodore H. Katz was given, Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization said, “We are pleased that the integrity of the Miss USA Pageant remains intact.”
On her side, Monnin posted on Facebook on Tuesday, “I’m so thankful for LIFE and all of the beauty that it holds. Tough times will come, but it’s how we handle each difficulty that will determine the path ahead.”
In June this year Monnin had made headlines by criticizing the Miss Universe contest on many counts. While ruling on the issue of defamation, the arbitrator held that Monnin had acted with “actual malice” by indicating the results of the contest was predetermined.
Katz wrote in the ruling, “Monnin claimed the pageant was rigged within minutes of being passed over as one of the sixteen semi-finalists, and before she had any purported factual basis for her allegation of rigging.”