Days after winning the Miss America crown, Kira Kazantsev is at the center of controversy.
She was a crowd favorite, speaking three languages, boasting a triple major from Hofstra University with a 3.6 GPA and actively working with organizations that help victims of domestic violence.
Now, just as the crown was beginning to settle on her head, news of her expulsion from the Alpha Phi sorority last year has thrust her into a media firestorm.
According to a story by the women's website Jezebel, the expulsion was a result of Kazantsev hazing pledges during her time as president of the recruitment committee.
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While no one associated with Hofstra University has confirmed the allegations in the article, the fact that's she was expelled hasn't been denied. However, the Miss America Organization has already addressed the report.
"Kira has been fully transparent with the Miss America Organization about her termination from the Alpha Phi sorority," the statement said. "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."
Kazantsev has also come out to say that all allegations of hazing are false. In an entry posted to her personal blog, Kazantsev claims that the reason for her expulsion was the result of a poorly worded joke in an email chain.
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"When I was a senior, as one of the older sisters in the sorority, I was asked by a new member educator at the time to send an email to alumni asking them to attend an event," explained Kazantsev "In the email, I joked that we could make the evening scary for the pledges. That statement was a joke – we never intended to actually engage in the wrongful behavior that I have been accused of… The email was forwarded by someone to the national organization. Based on that information, the national office summoned me for a judiciary hearing. At the time, it was the end of the school year. Finals, graduation and moving to New York City were at the forefront of my concerns. Based on the fact that I did not attend this hearing that was the official reason given for my termination."
Kazantsev added that she never participated in the hazing activities that the unnamed source in the Jezebel article accused her of, or of any of the hazing practices that the article seemed to associate with expulsion.
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"I was never involved with any name-calling or use of profanity toward a girl during my time with the sorority," Kazantsev wrote. "I was never involved in any physical hazing or any degradation of physical appearance of any kind. This has all been immensely taken out of context and manipulated purposefully because I am now in a public position."
Kazantsev also appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America to set the record straight.
On a lighter note, check out the video below for some beauty pageant bloopers.