On Saturday, Karlie Hay was crowned as 2016’s Miss Teen USA. However, the 18-year-old Texas native’s celebration didn’t last too long, because hours after winning the title she found herself under fire on Twitter.
People were upset with her use of the same social media platform, including a few choice tweets that have not been greeted warmly. Below is more information about Hay and the brewing firestorm brought to light after her pageant victory.
1. She used the n-word in a few tweets stemming back to 2013: According to USA Today, not long after Hay was named the winner of the beauty pageant, Twitter users started referencing old tweets Hay posted on the social media site allegedly using the n-word. Miss Teen USA 2010 winner Kamie Crawford was one of the many critics who slammed Hay for not cleaning up her Twitter account.
2. She’s matured since first publishing the slanderous tweets: Hay has since responded to criticism, and she didn’t deny using foul language on her Twitter in the past.
“I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for," Hay tweeted. "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. I am honored to hold this title and I will use this platform to promote the values of The Miss Universe Organization, and my own, that recognize the confidence, beauty and perseverance of all women."
3. She will get to keep her Miss Teen USA crown: Despite the backlash from Twitter commenters, The Miss Universe Organization decided to let Hay keep her new title. The organization issued a statement to E! News noting the lifestyle changes Hay has made since using the racial slur on her social media, which was one of the biggest factors in letting her keep the crown.
"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," the statement read. "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."
4. She’s all about team spirit: Hay is an active cheerleader for Tomball High School, which she will be graduating from in 2016. She plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall.
5. She’s taken: Hay has a boyfriend, who plays on their high school football team. She’s flooded her Instagram with pictures of her and her beau, many of which feature the couple in their Tomball High School athletic uniforms.
6. She wants to use her platform to help those in need: During the pageant, Hay spoke on the many issues she wants to create social change for including raising awareness about the several effects alcohol and drug abuse can have on children, a passion which stems from her very own childhood experiences. Hay plans to pursue a degree in business and wants to continue to advocate for youth affected by alcohol and drug abuse.
Do you think Hay should be allowed to keep the Miss Teen USA 2016 crown after using racially defamatory language on Twitter? Sound off in the comments section below.