Newly crowned Miss Teen USA, Karlie Hay, has apologized for offensive remarks made on social media, describing the comments as a “careless mistake.”
The 18-year-old Texas native became caught up in controversy after tweets from 2013 came to light just hours after she was crowned the pageant winner in Las Vegas on Saturday.
"I am very sorry. It’s embarrassing," Hay told Good Morning America about the derogatory posts, which appeared to include expletives and the N-word. "It’s something I’m ashamed of and I’ve grown up from that 15-year-old girl who used that type of language."
While Hay initially blamed “personal struggles” for her language choice at the time, she told GMA those struggles were no excuse and explained that her age was a contributing factor.
"At that age, I was being a follower. I was trying to fit in with my friends,” she said during the interview. “The word was thrown around in the music I listened to, with the friends I hung out with and I had no guidance, so it was kind of a careless mistake.”
"When the tweet got brought back up I was embarrassed, ashamed, and just amazed that I actually at one point in my life thought it was OK to use that word because it’s never OK," she continued.
While critics have called for Hay’s title to be revoked, the Miss Universe Organization is standing by the blonde beauty, and she is now trying to “stay positive” and hopes some good will come from the situation.
"I’ve grown from then and I’ve blossomed into the person I am today," she said. "I think that I can turn this message into a positive message because there are people that use that word and it’s not acceptable ever."
See more on the controversy surrounding Hay in the video below.