Miss Teen USA draws fire for past racist tweets revealed just hours after winning crown
The 18-year-old beauty pageant winner said there is 'no excuse' for her use of racist language
The newly crowned Miss Teen USA will retain her crown despite controversy that erupted after the discovery of tweets wherein the pageant winner repeatedly used a racial slur.
Social media users discovered the tweets where Karlie Hay, 18, hours after she won her crown at the Saturday night beauty pageant in Las Vegas.
In the tweets, Ms Hay is shown using the “N-word” multiple times. Her Twitter account has since been made private, but users captured images of the tweets in 2013.
Ms Hay issued an admission and apology via her Instagram account.
“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,” she wrote. “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 thank 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.”
The Miss Universe Organisation, which owns the Miss Teen USA pageant, issued a statement rebuking Ms Hay's past comments, but maintain that they are “committed to supporting her continued growth”.
Ms Hay's tweets came on the heels of another public relations flap for the pageant.
Miss Teen USA came under fire after announcing the five finalists, who were all white women with blonde hair.
Model and Lip Sync Battle co-host Chrissy Teigen wrote a facetious tweet criticising the lack of diversity of the contestants.
“Wow how can we choose from such a diverse bunch,” she wrote.
She later recanted her criticism, noting that it was “funny”.
Other users still issued their damning responses to the uniformity of the contestants.
“Thought it was the same girl in 5 different poses,” one wrote.
Another added, “Miss Teen USA, you should be disappointed in your pageant. Beauty is beyond blonde hair and blue eyes.”
The Miss Teen USA pageant was first held in 1983. Girls ages 14 through 19 are allowed to compete.
Prior to winning the Miss Teen USA crown, Ms Hay was Miss Texas Teen 2016 representing the small city of Kemah, southeast of Houston.