Karlie Hay, who was crowned Miss Teen USA Sunday night, came under fire soon after the pageant when it was found that she had frequently used the n-word on Twitter.

Miss Teen USA Caught Using N-Word

After 18-year-old Hay – who was Miss Texas Teen USA – was crowned Miss Teen USA, celebrations were soon followed by outrage. Twitter users, scouring her Twitter feed, realized that Hay had often used the n-word in discussions on Twitter, and posted screenshots as evidence.

Even Kamie Krawford, a former Miss Teen USA, took to Twitter demanding an explanation.

Hay eventually offered an explanation in a statement posted to Twitter.

“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’s statement reads. “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.”

The Miss Universe Organization also released a statement to address the controversy. Though the organization has called Hay’s use of language “unacceptable,” it has decided to allow her to keep her crown.

“The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization,” the statement read. “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.”

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