Karlie Hay: Miss Teen USA 2016 Apologizes For Racist Tweets, Miss Universe Defends Texas Beauty Queen

Karlie Hay was crowned the 2016 Miss Teen USA at the Miss Teen USA pageant in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 30. Although Karlie was elated at her victory over the other contestants, her joy was short-lived after several racist tweets that Hay had posted on Twitter several years ago surfaced online Sunday night.

Screenshots from the Twitter account attributed to Karlie Hay showed that she had used the racial slur in tweets she posted in both 2013 and 2014. The Dallas Morning News published an article that included one of the screenshots showing the n-word being used repeatedly, and the screenshot were shared numerous times by social media users.

Now, the newly crowned beauty queen has apologized for her comments, which included the n-word, in a series of tweets.

Despite her past comments, Hay will not have to hand over her crown. The Miss Universe Organization, which oversees the Miss Teen USA pageant, released a statement Sunday night regarding the incident.

“The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization,” the organization said in an email. “As Karlie stated, she was in a different place in her life and made a serious mistake she regrets and for which she sincerely apologizes. Karlie learned many lessons through those personal struggles that reshaped her life and values.”

On Tuesday, Hay sat down to talk to Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos about the scandal, and the backlash she has received for using the racial slur. Stephanopoulous asked Karlie about the comments she made, and whether or not she still used that type of language. He also questioned if she thought she should have had to give up her crown.

“I am very sorry. It’s embarrassing,” she said. “It’s something I’m ashamed of. I’ve grown up from that 15-year-old girl who used that type of language. It’s never acceptable and now I know how hurtful it is, and it hurts me to know that at one point in my life, I used that language. I said that. It’s not me.”

According to the New York Times, Karlie Hay graduated from a high school in Tomball, Texas, a city near Houston, earlier this year. Her Miss Teen USA profile described her as an honor roll student, a cheerleader, and a yearbook editor and photographer. She plans to use her platform to advocate for those who are affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Hay also plans on enrolling at Texas A&M University.

Do you think Karlie Hay should have been stripped of her Miss Teen USA 2016 crown and title? Leave your comments below.

[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]