Karlie Hay, the newly crowned Miss Teen USA, has found herself in hot water after social media users found tweets containing the N-word linked to an account with her name. Hay, an 18-year-old from Tomball, Texas, will still get to keep her title.
The Miss Universe Organization, the owners of the Miss Teen USA pageant, issued a statement Sunday criticizing Karlie Hay’s words but also “supporting her continued growth.”
According to NBC News, pageant officials said the 18-year-old was going through personal struggles and regrets her words. Only a couple of hours after being crowned, Hay went to Instagram and Twitter to take responsibility for the offensive language years ago:
“Several years ago, I had many personal struggles and found myself in a place that is not representative of who I am as a person. I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for. Through hard work, education and thanks in large part to the sisterhood that I have come to know through pageants, I am proud to say that I am today a better person. I am honored to hold this title and I will use this platform to promote the values of The Miss Universe Organization, and my own, that recognize the confidence, beauty and perseverance of all women.”