Miss Pennsylvania says she has given up her state crown because the Miss USA pageant was fixed, but organizers say an e-mail she sent this week shows she quit because of her disapproval over allowing transgender participants.
"I will relay to you the reasoning behind my resignation. I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage," Sheena Monnin wrote on her Facbeook page Tuesday.
"Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said 'FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012' and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in."
Monnin said she waited to see how things would play out.
"After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged; I decided at that moment to distance myself from an organization who did not allow fair play and whose morals did not match my own," she wrote on Facebook.
But the Miss Universe Organization said that while Monnin did resign following Sunday night's pageant, her description of the events and why she quit is false.
"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."
Monnin hasn't commented on the release of the e-mail.
The topic of whether transgender participants should be allowed in pageants entered the spotlight after a controversy in the Canadian version of the pageant. Jenna Talackova, 23, forced Donald Trump and his Miss Universe Canada pageant to end its ban on transgender contestants. Talackova fell short of the national title at the pageant.
And in Sunday's Miss USA pageant, the topic surfaced in the question-and-answer part of the show when Rob Kardashian read aloud a question sent in by a viewer via Twitter for Culpo, Miss Rhode Island and the eventual pageant winner.
"Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?" the question asked.
Culpo quickly embraced the Miss Universe decision to allow transgender women but also acknowledged why some people may not feel comfortable with it.
"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 said.