- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2016

This year’s Miss Teen USA will be able to keep her crown amid backlash over racial tweets she posted more than two years ago.

Screenshots of several tweets containing the N-word surfaced online shortly after 18-year-old Karlie Hay, of Texas, was crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Three of the tweets from what appeared to be Ms. Hay’s personal Twitter account dated back to July 2013, and one was written as recently as January 2014. The authenticity of the Twitter account could not be verified and the tweets from that account are now private, CNN reported.

“Don’t threaten me I will wrap your house [N-word],” a July 30, 2013, tweet read.

“You know I’m a comedian [N-word],” read another.

Ms. Hay responded to the allegations in a series of tweets Sunday morning, but did not apologize directly in reference to the alleged use of the racial slur.

“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,” Ms. Hay wrote. “I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for.

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

The Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss Teen USA pageant, issued a statement Sunday supporting Ms. Hay’s “continued growth.”

“The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of the Miss Universe Organization,” read the statement, obtained by KTRK, a CNN affiliate in Houston. “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.”

Ms. Hay said she will use her platform to advocate for those affected by drug and alcohol abuse.

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