Miss America Kira Kazantsev responds to hazing allegations



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Kira Kazantsev made pledges' life 'a living hell,' Jezebel quoted an anonymous source saying about the now 23-year-old Miss America, Kira Kazantsev.

The source said, 'pledges in the incoming class were called names, berated for their perceived physical flaws and imperfections and made to perform physical tasks to the point of bruising and exhaustion.'

In an appearance on 'Good Morning America' Tuesday morning, just after the scandal broke, Kazantsev had the opportunity to deny the allegations.

'Unfortunately, these allegations [of abuse], first of all, are just not true,' Kazantsev told Lara Spencer. 'I'm incredibly hurt that someone has said these things.'

Kazantsev also wrote a blog post addressing the controversy.

She started with, 'This first week of being in the public eye is not something you can ever prepare for.'

She then went on to describe her own experience as a freshman pledging for Alpha Phi at Long Island's Hofstra University, when she herself was hazed.

'The worst of the so-called hazing was standing in a line reciting information, a few sleepless nights, and crafting. I was yelled at a few times. That year, the sorority got in trouble for those actions and was disciplined by both Hofstra and the national organization. However, after being brought up through that process, my class thought the only way to gain respect in the sorority was to go through it or be seen as weak.'

'At the time, unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university. I was hazed,' she said on 'GMA.'

'I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that that's appropriate behavior, when clearly - I'm two years removed from the organization today, and I understand that's just not true.'

And though she admitted to Spencer that she was involved with some hazing, which, in her sorority, involved more menial tasks like standing in a line to recite information, a few sleepless nights and crafting, she explained, she said she did nothing to bring emotional or physical pain to pledges.

In her blog post, she also addressed the events that led to her termination from Alpha Phi. Yes, she said, she was kicked out of her sorority, but the real story isn't so dramatic:

When I was a senior, as one of the older sisters in the sorority, I was asked by a new member educator at the time to send an email to alumni asking them to attend an event. In the email, I joked that we could make the evening scary for the pledges. That statement was a joke – we never intended to actually engage in the wrongful behavior that I have been accused of – and the alumni event I spoke of never came to fruition anyway.

The email was forwarded by someone to the national organization. Based on that information, the national office summoned me for a judiciary hearing. At the time, it was the end of the school year. Finals, graduation, and moving to New York City were at the forefront of my concerns. Based on the fact that I did not attend this hearing that was the official reason given for my termination.

I was never involved with any name-calling or use of profanity toward a girl during my time with the sorority. I was never involved in any physical hazing or any degradation of physical appearance of any kind. This has all been immensely taken out of context and manipulated purposefully because I am now in a public position.

She went on to talk about how she will use her experiences and new platform to make a positive change in the world.

'Now that I'm 2 years removed from that experience at the sorority, I've learned what healthy relationships are, and can better speak to what young girls entering college should avoid and it has further developed my platform, 'Love Shouldn't Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence,'' Kira said.

The Washington Post interviewed one of Kazantsev's sorority sisters, Abby Littleton, a 2014 Hofstra grad who was Kazantsev's 'little sister' in Alpha Phi, who came forward to defend her, who said her sorority is shocked by the Jezebel article.

Of her current sorority house, Littleton told The Washington Post, 'They are very, very sad about this because no one knows who is trying to bring Kira down. She's on top now, and it's really sad that people are trying to bring her down. No one knows who is saying these things.'