Sheena Monnin, the sleek 5’7″ brunette, resigned her title as Miss Pennsylvania immediately following the 2012 Miss USA Pageant on what she believed was a credible rumor by fellow contestant Karina Brez, Miss Florida. Brez is purported to have stated she viewed a list of the top five candidates on a telecast document hours before the pageant began. Brez told Monnin that the finalists were later called out in the order that she saw them. Whether this happened or not, Monnin took the extreme measure of decrying the Donald Trump sponsored event as being rigged, fraudulent, trashy, and even immoral.
It is hard to imagine that she would put her own credibility on the line on the word of a fellow contestant without any physical proof. It is more than likely the case that she was personally put off over not advancing to the finals and the comment by Brez put her over the top. For Brez’s case, she claims she was only joking and has repeatedly changed her account of the events. Monnin later gave an interview on the “Today Show” to explain her reasons for turning on the pageant.
In response, pageant organizers exercised a clause in her contract which stated she was barred from disparaging the event. They alleged she defamed the organization and sought redress in arbitration. They prevailed and the result was punishing: a $5 million judgment was levied against her. Put another way, the well-educated beauty, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Psychology, will have to pay out almost twice the amount of money people with her education gross during their working lifetimes. The pageant organizers were able to demonstrate that Monnin’s defamatory remarks caused a sponsor to withdraw out of a lucrative $5 million deal. Obviously, she appealed the ruling, but a federal appeals court concurred with the arbitration panel’s judgment.