Miss Teen USA 'committed to supporting' 2016 winner after N-word tweets surface

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Miss Teen USA Twitter trouble: Winner apologizes for racist tweets

The Miss Teen USA pageant is standing behind 2016 winner Karlie Hay after it was discovered she used the N-word in tweets several years ago.

The Miss Universe Organization, which runs the pageant, issued a statement stating that Hay "made a serious mistake" and has changed since the time she made the controversial remarks.

"The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization," the statement reads, per ABC 13. "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. 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."

Hay removed the tweets and apologized, blaming her use of the word on "many personal struggles." She has alluded to dysfunction in the past, including a history of substance abuse among some members of her family.

See photos from the pageant:

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Miss Teen USA 2016
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay (C) reacts as Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber (L) and Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik (R) crown Hay Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay (L) reacts as she is crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 by Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay (2nd L) reacts as Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber (L), Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik (3rd L) and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (R) crown Hay Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Actor and host Cody Johns (L) looks on as Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay answers a question during the interview portion of the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay is introduced during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the evening gown competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay poses for photos after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the athletic wear competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the athletic wear competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the athletic wear competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay waves after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2016 Emily Wakeman (L) and Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay hold hands as they wait for the judges' final decision during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay was named Miss Teen USA 2016 and Wakeman was first runner-up. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2016 Emily Wakeman (L) and Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay hug after Hay was named Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wakeman was first runner-up. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2016 Emily Wakeman (L) and Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay hold hands as they wait for the judges' final decision during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay was named Miss Teen USA 2016 and Wakeman was first runner-up. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2016 Emily Wakeman (L) and Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay react after Hay was named Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wakeman was first runner-up. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay (L) reacts as she is crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 by Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay poses for photos after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay poses for photos after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the evening gown competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay poses for photos after being crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the evening gown competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hay went on to be named Miss Teen USA 2016. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 30: Miss Texas Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay competes in the athletic wear competition during the 2016 Miss Teen USA Competition at The Venetian Las Vegas on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The controversy erupted just hours after critics slammed the Miss Teen USA pageant, which is controlled by the Miss Universe Organization, for having five white, blonde finalists who looked remarkably alike.

Many Twitter users slammed Hay for her apology and suggested that she deserved tougher punishment. Some suggested she should lose her crown.

Read original story Miss Teen USA 'Committed to Supporting' 2016 Winner After N-Word Tweets Surface At TheWrap

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