The Miss Teen USA pageant crowned a new winner this past weekend, but it didn’t take long for controversy to erupt over her past social media posts.
Shortly after Karlie Hay of Tomball, Tex. won this year’s Miss Teen USA crown, social media users began scouring the web for some of her past tweets and Facebook posts. What they found wasn’t exactly pretty, as they found that she used racial slurs on multiple occasions back in 2013.
Per Mic.com, Hay responded to the controversy by apologizing for her “inexcusable” use of racial slurs, while also noting that she made those remarks during a time when she was going through “a number of personal struggles.” She also said that she has matured significantly over the past three years.
“Through hard work, education, maturity 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,” she said. “I am honored to hold this title and I will use the Miss Teen USA platform to promote messages of confidence, inclusion and perseverance.”
The Miss Universe Organization subsequently put out a statement saying that Hay will keep her crown despite the controversy.
“The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization,” the organization wrote. “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. We as an organization are committed to supporting her continued growth.”