The Miss Universe Organization on Friday launched a legal action for defamation against a beauty queen who said recent Miss USA pageant results were rigged.
The group that runs the Miss Universe and Miss USA contests, which is co-owned by celebrity businessman Donald Trump, said it was seeking damages against Sheena Monnin, who resigned her Miss Pennsylvania crown earlier this week.
|Sheena Monnin (AP Photo)
"The Miss Universe Organization has filed legal action against Sheena Monnin in accordance with its official contract. The Miss Universe Organization intends on pursuing all of its legal rights and remedies, including monetary damages, against Ms Monnin for her ongoing defamatory statements," the organization said in a statement.
Monnin, 27, quit the group on Monday saying a fellow contestant in Sunday's Miss USA pageant had seen a list containing the names of the top five girls hours before the show had begun.
Trump shot back on U.S. television, saying Monnin's assertion was "ridiculous" and suggesting she was a poor loser after failing to place in the top 16 at the Miss USA pageant.
Monnin has refused to back down, telling NBC television's "Today" show on Friday that she was "prepared to continue to pursue the truth."
Friday's action was not filed as a formal lawsuit because of a contract that requires disputes between the Miss Universe Organization and contestants be settled in private arbitration.
The Miss Universe Organization declined to give details of the legal action or the amount of damages being sought, citing that agreement.
© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.