Teen Miss USA Karlie Hay is “embarrassed” for using the N-word on Twitter when she was 15 years old, but she doesn’t think she should lose her crown. The Texan beauty queen sat down with “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos when she apologized and said she has grown since she used racist slang.

“I am very sorry. It's embarrassing,” she said, according to E! Online. “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.”

Hay is now 18 years old. “A lot of people think that, but I've grown from then and I've blossomed into the person I am today,” she said in defense of her crown. “And I think that I can turn this message into a positive message, because there are people that use this word, and it's unacceptable. Ever.”


Hay defended how her past indiscretions could help with her crown. “I've learned that, you know, through every obstacle there's something positive that can come out of it, and I can use my title to do great things. And hopefully people learn from my mistakes, because it is a big mistake. It's something I'm embarrassed about, something that will stick with me and definitely has affected me,” she said. “I'm just going to try to learn from it and move forward.”

The controversy erupted after she won her crown Sunday. She quickly issued a statement via Twitter and Instagram. “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,” the beauty queen wrote. “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.”

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