US beauty queen defamed pageant

Last updated 11:22 19/12/2012
Sheena Monnin
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BROKE BEAUTY QUEEN: Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin competing in the 2012 Miss USA pageant.

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A contestant who claimed the Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant US$5 million (NZ$5.93 million) for defamation.

In a decision signed last week, an arbitrator found that Sheena Monnin's comments were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin was Miss Pennsylvania USA.

The arbitrator says there's no reasonable possibility the judging was rigged.

Monnin did not participate in the arbitration. Her lawyer's office said there was no comment.

The arbitrator says Monnin was disgruntled about not making it past the preliminary rounds. He also says she objected to the pageant's decision to allow transgender contestants.

Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania USA after the pageant.

The arbitrator says her allegations on Facebook and NBC's Today show cost the pageant $US5 million from a potential 2013 sponsor.

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- AP

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