Contestant claimed the pageant is rigged and trashy.
The Miss USA pageant representative from Pennsylvania resigned her crown claiming the contest is rigged, but according to organizers the beauty queen was upset over the decision to allow transgender contestants to enter.
A posting on Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin’s Facebook page claims another contestant learned the names of the top 5 finishers on Sunday morning — hours before the show was broadcast.
Monnin claims the other contestant told her the names of the top 5 she spotted on a planning sheet for the telecast — and she decided to step down as soon as those same contestants were named during the show.
“In my heart I believe in honesty, fair play, a fair opportunity, and high moral integrity, none of which in my opinion are part of this pageant system any longer,” Monnin wrote in one of her Facebook posts.
Monnin’s Facebook post has since been removed, likely due to Trump threatening to sue over what he says are completely false charges. (Although later in the day Trump backed off a little bit.) To make matters worse, pageant officials are saying that the other contestant who supposedly told Monnin she saw a list of the top 5 prior the finale now “vehemently” refutes Monnin’s claims.
The winner of the Miss USA pageant goes on to compete in the Miss Universe contest. Earlier this year the organization allowed its first transgender contestant, Miss Canada, who made it into the Top 12 before being cut. Donald Trump himself overruled the initial decision by pageant officials to deny the woman entry.
The Trump fueled controversy was further ignited Sunday night when Miss Rhode Island was asked a question during the question-and-answer period with the top five. Celebrity judge Rob Kardashian read aloud a question sent in via Twitter:
“Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?” he asked Culpo.
Culpo reacted with a pleasant looking grimace, sort of an I can’t believe I got this question, before answering:
“I do think that that would be fair, but I can understand that people would be a little apprehensive to take that road because there is a tradition of natural-born women, but today where there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life, I do accept that because I believe it’s a free country,” Culpo responded.
The Planet Hollywood audience reacted with loud applause and cheers.
Miss Pennsylvania’s Facebook post following Sunday night’s pageant said nothing about her disapproval of transgender participants, but it was an email she sent that pageant officials seized on:
“The Miss Universe Organization can confirm the resignation of the Pennsylvania titleholder after she did not place in the Top 16 at the Miss USA pageant. In an e-mail to state pageant organizers (below), she cited the Miss Universe Organization’s policy regarding transgendered contestants, implemented two months ago, as the reason for her resignation,” the organization said in a statement. “Today she has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed; however, the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim.
“We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight from Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win.”
According to the e-mail released by the Miss Universe organization, Monnin sent her resignation after 4 p.m. ET Monday before writing on her Facbeook page, saying the organization had strayed by allowing transgender participants in the pageant.
“I am officially and irrevocably resigning the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012,” the e-mail released by Miss Universe said. “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.
“I hereby return the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.”
OK, now for my two cents. I agree with Culpo that it is a free country, and if a natural born man wants to undergo the process to become a “woman”, he has the right to do it. Transgender surgery is expensive and not easily undertaken, and certainly not without risks. But to hold out the idea that a natural born man is the best representation of womanly beauty is just wrong, particularly when pageant contestants bend over backwards to try to portray the pageant system as more than just a “beauty contest.” Part of growing up to be a woman includes certain milestones in a girl’s life… getting her period, dealing with the related hormonal issues. To think that a natural born man could win a pageant proclaiming him, now her, the highest definition of womanly beauty in the USA is one of those things that most Americans intuitively would think: Icky!! I would guess that most men ogling the bikini clad Miss USA contestants would recoil to find out that beautiful woman they’ve been eyeing on the stage was actually a man only four years ago.
I think the new Miss USA, Olivia Culpo is absolutely stunning, talented, witty and personable, and until her final answer she was one of my top picks. But she lost me with her willingness to be used as a tool in a larger agenda. Some may laugh off the whole pageant thing as irrelevant, but it is still an American institution. Pageant officials and contestants talk about how beauty is more than just skin deep, and defend themselves against criticism that pageantry is rooted in “fake”. It’s no secret that quite many of them sport fake teeth, fake boobs, fake hair extensions.. no doubt attractive. The day that a transgendered person wins Miss USA is the day the pageant will die a “natural” death from admitting that faking it is what it’s all about. Because a transgendered person does not have the sexual DNA of a naturally born person. That’s just fact.
Taking positions like this always opens yourself up to hateful rhetoric, and like clockwork, GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) issued a press release criticizing Miss Pennsylvania’s “apparent transphobia.”:
Not surprisingly, following news of Monnin’s possible rejection of Miss USA’s transgender-friendly principles, GLAAD has expressed its disappointment. “Sheena Monnin apparently decided to quit, rather than be aligned with an organization that treats all women as women,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement to Hollywood.com. “As more and more Americans get to know transgender people in their communities, in the workplace, and through the media, they are discovering the humanity that society has refused to acknowledge for so long. Monnin is out of touch with fair-minded Americans who believe that trans men and women are worthy of the same dignity, respect, and opportunity as all other men and women.”
President of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, also took Monnin’s words as a personal offense. “As a trans person and a Pennsylvanian, I’m disappointed that the now former Miss Pennsylvania feels such bigotry toward trans people,” Keisling said in a statement. “She says she is upset about a lack of honesty and fair play in the contest, but the real lack of honesty may be her unwillingness to publicly express her apparent transphobia. There is also a real need for allowing honestly by trans women who are being their true selves.
It’s a free country, still, and Trump owns the right to run the Miss USA/Miss Universe pageant in the way he desires. Some will think it an offensive blurring of the lines, and some will demand their right to force our opinion. Like anything else though, if sponsors think the pageant has jumped the shark they will vote with their feet. Same with viewers. There’s always Miss America.