Karlie Hay - Miss Teen USA

Newly crowned Miss Teen USA winner Karlie Hay is already experiencing the wrath of the Internet, after old tweets surfaced, causing backlash online.

Shortly after she was crowned, old tweets on her personal account popped up online, which show the 18-year-old using racial slurs. In a series of tweets from 2013, Hay is seen using the word “n*gger” several times. See them below:

Hay later took to Twitter to respond to the controversy, calling her language “inexcusable”, while explaining that she was dealing with “personal struggles” at the time the tweets were made.

Hay echoed those same words in a prepared statement to media, saying: “A few years ago, I used language that is inexcusable, and I sincerely apologize for my actions. At the time, due to a number of personal struggles, I was in a place that is not representative of who I am now. 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. I am honored to hold this title and I will use the Miss Teen USA platform to promote messages of confidence, inclusion and perseverance.”

Despite the controversy, the Miss Universe Organization says Hay will keep her crown, though it did acknowledge that the language was inexcusable. “The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization. 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,” the Miss Universe Organization’s statement reads.