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Very often, there can be an ugly side to beauty pageants … just ask Donald Trump.
Over the years, “The Apprentice” boss’s pageants – Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe – have been mired in controversy, both on and off the stage. The latest scandal comes courtesy of Miss Delaware Teen USA Melissa King, who turned in her crown on Tuesday after a graphic sex tape reportedly starring her and an unidentified man surfaced on a porn website.
Although the 18-year-old, who won her title this past November, insists the woman in the June 2012 video is “absolutely not” her (despite the fact that she talks about competing in pageants in it), King did nonetheless relinquish her title.
Trump’s rep declined to comment on King’s situation to omg! and Trump himself did not speak about it during appearances on NBC’s “Today” show or “Access Hollywood Live” on Wednesday morning. However, there was one person who did get him to open up: Howard Stern.
During a call-in interview to Stern’s SiriusXM radio show, the golden-haired curmudgeon admitted to the shock jock that the Miss Teen USA organization did advise King to prepare a resignation letter “very quickly” because “it was nicer” than firing her. Adding that King could have gone on to become a Miss Universe candidate, Trump speculated that the leak of the XXX video was “probably one of her friends who was jealous of her.” Although Trump maintained he had no intention of viewing the footage, he did joke to Stern, “Will you call me and let me know how good it is?”
Whether or not King is any good, she may have a future in the business. YouPorn.com has offered the teen $250,000 to become Miss YouPorn and travel the world promoting the site. "While your peers and the Pageant officials may not like the publicity this is generating for them, we absolutely we see a real opportunity for us to work together," marketing director Brandon Burns writes in an open letter to King. "I am sure through your travels with us as Miss Youporn, you will meet a lot of incredible people and see the world."
No word yet if King has received the offer or if she is considering her new "title."
King is of course not the first in Trump’s Miss USA/Miss Teen USA/Miss Universe family to cause major controversy since he bought the organization in 1996. There have been multiple scandals over the years, and omg! breaks down six of the biggest:
Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006
After winning Miss Kentucky USA and Miss USA, and then competing in Miss Universe, Conner moved into her new digs at Trump Tower in New York City … and that’s when she fell into the party scene. In December 2006, just before her 21st birthday, reports of Conner’s bad behavior began to emerge, including public intoxication, testing positive for cocaine, making out with her roommate Miss Teen USA Katie Blair, and sneaking men into her apartment. On December 19, Trump held a press conference stating he would not dethrone Conner because “I’ve always been a believer in second chances,” and instead, announced that she was headed to rehab for two months.
Katie Blair, Miss Teen USA 2006
Conner wasn’t the only one in that Trump Tower apartment that year to cause a stir. Blair, then just 18, was also implemented in Conner’s shenanigans (even though Blair was reportedly the one who squealed on Conner), which included underage drinking and kissing each other in public. Although she retained her title, like Conner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving fired her as their spokesperson against underage drinking. Despite the fallout, Blair went on to become the first runner-up in the Miss California USA 2011 competition.
Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA 2009
During the Miss USA 2009 competition, Miss California USA caused a stir when she was asked about same-sex marriage by gossip blogger Perez Hilton, a judge that year, and she responded that she was against it. “In my country, in my family, I think that, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” stated Prejean, who later came in as first runner-up, which she believed was because of her beliefs. Although Hilton used his site to trash Prejean, the worst was yet to come. In May, topless modeling photos surfaced online, which she explained away, saying, "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos." Prejean also claimed they were the only photos … but then more scantily clad shots hit the web. On June 10, she was terminated as Miss California USA, citing breach of contract.
Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010
The Lebanese-born beauty became the first Arab-American to win Miss USA in 2010, causing quite a stir with fellow Muslims about wearing a bikini. But that was just the beginning. Right before she moved on to compete in Miss Universe that year, embarrassing photos emerged of Fakih dancing on a stripper pole in a Detroit bar from years earlier. Despite the shock, she was allowed to compete in Miss Universe … although she did not even place as a finalist. Things got even worse the following year when Fakih was arrested for drunk driving in Highland Park, Michigan, which earned her six months of probation and 20 hours of community service.
Jenna Talackova, Miss Universe Canada contestant 2012
Trump found himself in a whole different kind of sex scandal in 2012 when Miss Universe Canada authorities disqualified the transgendered Talackova on the grounds that pageant rules require participants to be “naturally born” women. After hiring powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred, Talackova was then allowed to compete in Miss Universe Canada as “long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, which we understand that she does,” Trump’s office said in a statement. Talackova, whose birth name was Walter, went on to place in the Top 12, but failed to reach the Top 5.
Sheena Monnin, Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012
After not even placing in the Miss USA 2012 competition, Monnin charged that the Top 5 was “fixed” by claiming Miss Florida USA, Karina Brez, had seen the same names as the eventual Top 5 on a piece of paper backstage. Although Brez later said she had only been joking, Monnin still resigned as Miss Pennsylvania USA, but instead blamed it on the organization allowing “natural born males,” like Talackova to compete. “This goes against every moral fiber of my being,” she stated at the time. But Trump was still ticked nonetheless and the Miss Universe organization filed a $5 million lawsuit against Monnin for defamation. Although an arbitrator ruled in December 2012 that she must pay up, as of February 2013, she was granted an extension after receiving new legal counsel.
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