Racist language in old tweets from the freshly crowned Miss Teen USA is just the latest controversy for the Miss Universe Organization, which suffered a round of turmoil last year over then-owner Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments against Mexicans.
The new flap came over the weekend, shortly after 18-year-old Texan Karlie Hay was crowned Miss Teen USA in Las Vegas on Saturday. Social media users quickly unearthed an account with Hay’s name that featured the N-word in tweets from 2013 and 2014, and the organization was forced into damage control mode.
“The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization,” pageant officials said in a statement, adding that Hay was “in a different place in her life” when she posted the tweets. “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.”
Miss Universe officials pointed to an apology Hay posted on Twitter and Instagram, in which she admitted using language that she wasn’t proud of and “is not representative of who I am as a person.”
Not all were satisfied with Miss Universe’s decision, with commenters taking to the official Miss Teen USA Facebook page to argue Hay was a poor representative of the organization and should lose her crown.
The pageant empire has had a bumpy ride since last summer. Miss Universe was co-owned by NBCUniversal and Republican presidential nominee Trump until shortly after he made anti-immigrant remarks last year.
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems,” Trump said about Mexico in a speech announcing his presidential bid. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The Spanish-language network Univision and NBC responded by cutting ties with Trump and saying they wouldn’t broadcast the Miss Universe pageant. Trump ultimately bought NBC’s stake, then sold the pageant to talent agency WME/IMG in September.
The new owners have taken steps to rebrand the Miss Teen USA pageant, including scrapping the swimsuit competition and replacing it with an athletic wear segment. The move drew praise from observers who said it emphasized strength instead of physical appearance.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
EEL RIVER says
AS FAR AS I KNOW WE STILL HAVE A FIRST AMENDMENT, INCLUDING FREE SPEECH AND FREE PRESS, WHY SHOULD THIS EVEN BE IN QUESTION, IF SOMEBODY TOOK OFFENCE TO WHAT EVER WAS SAID. THAT IN IT SELF IS DISCRIMATION. DO WE HAVE TWO SETS OF RULES FOR THE SAME THING IN OUR COUNTRY. THIS PC CRAP MUST STOP! IFYOU DONT LIKEIT DONT READ IT! BUT QUIT SNIVELING.
Maybe you’d like to trust your free speech. Walk up to a black person and call them the “N” word. When you’re done picking your teeth up off the floor let us know how that sore mouth feels.