Miss Teen USA Karlie Hay Apologizes For N-Word Twitter Scandal: ‘I Was Trying To Fit In’

Hours after being crowned Miss Teen USA last night, pageant winner Karlie Hay was caught up in a scandal after tweets she issued a few years ago resurfaced, revealing her liberal use of the N-word on social media.

In screenshots of the deleted tweets (via Gossip Cop), Hay — who is white — uses the word more than once in a series of tweets:

Karlie-Hay-N-Word

Without directly referencing the scandal, Hay took to Instagram to offer up an explanation that stopped short of an actual apology.

“Several years ago, I had many personal struggles and found myself in a place that is not representative of who I am as a person,” writes Hay. “I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for.”

RELATED: Lindsay Lohan Under Fire For Using N-Word, Issues Apology

Hay adds: “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 honoured 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,”

Comments on Instagram, however, have been largely negative, with one commenter writing: “So your “personal struggles” made you a bigot? Grow up, actually apologize, and don’t try to play the victim.”

Other comments include: “I see excuses not an apology”; “You don’t deserve to have this crown”; “stop trying to play the victim and just apologize”; and “#revokethecrown”.

Following criticism for her non-apology, Hay appeared on “Good Morning America” today and offered a full apology.

“I am very sorry. It’s embarrassing. It’s something I’m ashamed of, and I’ve grown up from that 15-year-old girl who used that type of language,” she said.

“At that age, I was being a follower. I was trying to fit in with my friends. 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,” she added. “When the tweet got brought back up I was just like kind of 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.”

Calling her tweets “an incredibly bad mistake,” Hay notes that she’s “grown from then, and I’ve blossomed into the person I am today…Hopefully, people learn from my mistakes.” Watch:

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