Miss Teen Oklahoma USA Condemns Pageant Winner’s Non-Apology For Racist Tweets

This past weekend, Miss Teen USA revealed its top five contestants, who all were white, and then crowned Karlie Hay of Texas the pageant winner. Social media users promptly uncovered years-old tweets of Hay’s in which she used the N-word repeatedly.

The organization released a statement that said, “The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization… 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.”

Hellenn Smith, Miss Oklahoma Teen USA, talked to Cosmopolitan about the problem with that statement.

“Girls have had their titles taken away from them for much less,” Smith said. She directly spoke about Miss Florida’s dethroning for using professional hair and makeup artists in her private room instead of doing it on her own.

“Someone with a national title hasn’t had their title taken away from using racial slurs. And she is a representation of Miss Universe because she’s Miss Teen USA.”

Hay claimed in a statement that she was going through “many personal struggles and found [herself] in a place that is not representative of who [she is] as a person” when she sent the tweets.

I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that personal struggles spur people into using racial slurs as a form of relief.

“She did not actually apologize,” Smith said, “It seemed like she’s sorry she insulted people, not she’s sorry she said it in the first place.”

Smith said that the problem goes even further than Hay’s title. Smith believes “the whole outcome of [the pageant] was really disappointing because Miss USA is supposed to be a representation of the United States as a whole and I really don’t think they did a really good job at representing us.”

She noted that within the top 15 contestants, there were no women of color.

Smith continued and stated that she believes that there is no excuse for not including more diversity in pageants in the future. “It’s not about placing girls in the system just to fill a quota and to represent diversity,” she said, “It’s about giving  the people who earned their spot a place in the top 15 or the top five.”

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