|MISS USA 2012 OLIVIA CULPO|
The newly crowned Miss USA is laughing off claims made by a fellow contestant that the beauty pageant she won earlier this month is a fraud.
“It’s really not affecting me too much,” Olivia Culpo said today on “Good Morning America.” “I’m very easygoing and things literally will just roll right off my back and it seems now that it’s not true.”
Culpo, the 20-year-old former Miss Rhode Island, was referring to claims made by Sheena Monnin who, after losing the Miss USA title to Culpo on June 3, resigned her Miss Pennsylvania crown and charged that the Miss USA pageant had been rigged.
“It was just a silly little piece of poor sportsmanship,” Culpo said of Monnin’s actions. “America watched the pageant. I think that you can watch and judge for yourself who is deserving of the title.”
The day after the pageant, Monnin abandoned any pretense of contending for Miss Congeniality by ripping into the organization.
“Effective immediately I have voluntarily, completely, and utterly removed myself from the Miss Universe Organization,” the 27-year-old beauty queen posted on her Facebook page. “In good conscience I can no longer be affiliated in any way with an organization I consider to be fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy.”
Culpo’s comments echo those made by pageant owner, business mogul Donald Trump, who in a series of fiery media appearances called Monnin a “sore loser” and said he plans to sue her for making “defamatory statements.”
“We will be bringing a lawsuit against her [Monnin],” Trump said in a live phone interview on “GMA” last Wednesday. “She lost and if you look at her compared to the people who were in the top 15, you would understand why she’s not in the top 15.”
Monnin claimed that another contestant, later identified as Miss Florida Karina Brez, saw the list of the top five finalists before the show even started. Trump said that an internal investigation proved that was not true.
Brez was scheduled to appear alongside Culpo on “GMA,” but backed out at the last minute.
“I haven’t spoken with her and from what I understand she didn’t want to take the spotlight away from me which is so sweet of her,” Culpo said. “She was thrown into a mess that she didn’t want any part of and it’s a mess that now we know isn’t really true.”
Culpo explained that the confusion seems to have come from Brez seeing a rehearsal list prior to the pageant, not the actual top five list the night of the pageant.
“There are obviously several rehearsals because we are going live so no one can trip on their heels and what not,” she said. “There are rehearsals with people who are chosen to practice for our rehearsals before the pageant and I wasn’t even on the list.
“So that is what she saw,” Culpo said. “I don’t understand really what she took from that as the top five, but I don’t know. I can’t speak for her.”
Ernst & Young, the pageant’s accounting firm, issued a statement to “GMA,” saying, in part, that its auditors tabulate and verify the votes “after the evening gown competition” during the show.
“Ernst & Young is one of the greatest auditors in the world, so that alone says something,” Culpo said. “I can’t really speak for Sheena or Miss Florida, but it seems to me like nothing is going full circle.”
Monnin has not spoken publicly about the controversy since her resignation and also made no comment in response to a proposed compromise from Trump that he would back away from his lawsuit if the former title holder issue a written apology to him within a 24-hour deadline.
SOURCE: ABC News, 6/11/2012