Kira Kazantsev, who won the Miss America Pageant earlier this month, was kicked out of her sorority at Hofstra University for hazing. In light of the scandal, Kazantsez has defended herself and the pageant has stood squarely behind her.

Kira Kazantsev On Hazing Allegations

Kazantsev was accused of saying rude things to underclassman and making them perform strenuous tasks as a form of hazing while she was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority at Hofstra. “Pledges in the incoming class were called names, berated for their perceived physical flaws and imperfections, and made to perform physical tasks to the point of bruising and exhaustion,” a source told Jezebel, adding that Kazantsev in particular made it “a living hell” for fresh recruits.

While Kazantsev denies that she did the things outlined in the Jezebel report, she does admit that she was involved in mild hazing prior to being kicked out of the sorority.

“Under the broad definition of hazing, yes, I was involved,” she said on Good Morning America. “At the time, unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university, and I was hazed, and I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that is appropriate behavior…”

Kazantsev went on to explain that she’d made a joke about making a night “scary for the pledges” in an email. The scares, according to the pageant winner, included “reciting information” and “a few sleepness nights of crafting.”

The Miss America Organization has come to Kazantsev’s defense, explaining that the 23-year-old had been forthcoming about the college incident. The organization further stated its frustration that Kazantsev’s otherwise impressive record will be overshadowed by an incident they believe was blown out of proportion.

"Kira has been fully transparent with the Miss America Organization about her termination from the Alpha Phi sorority," a spokesperson told FOX411. "It's unfortunate that this incident has been exploited to create a storyline that distracts from what we should be focusing on: Kira's impressive academic achievements at Hofstra University, including earning a triple major from the Honors College and her commitment to serving her community.”

The spokesperson added, “Kira is an exceptional ambassador for the Miss America Organization, and we are excited to be a part of her journey as a force for good across our nation, promoting education and service and working to empower young women."

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