The Miss Teen USA Organization, already under fire for the lack of diversity in this year’s pageant, is fielding questions about newly crowned Karlie Hay of Texas, after a Twitter account seemingly belonging to the teen showed her using the N-word multiple times.

It didn’t take long for Twitter users to point out the racial slurs shortly after she was crowned Saturday, CNN reports.

In response to the old tweets, the 18-year-old released a statement that did not directly apologize for the racial epithet, but explained where she was at that time in her life.

“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,” the statement read in both her Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for. 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 organization, not at all concerned that their newest role model used the language with such ease, defended Hay’s statement.

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

Hay, who hopes to enroll at Texas A&M University to study business and is using her platform to bring awareness to drug and alcohol abuse, also received criticism from her predecessors. Former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford had some decent advice for the teenager:

SOURCE: CNN, Twitter | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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