On Saturday, Miss Texas Teen Karlie Hay won the annual Miss Teen USA pageant, held at The Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. But her win was overshadowed by controversy. Several Twitter users quickly alleged that Hay used offensive language on Twitter, including the N-word, in a number of tweets that have since been deleted. Refinery29 could not independently verify these tweets. Users shared screenshots that they claim are from Hay's account and several media outlets shared the screengrabs on their sites. By Sunday afternoon, Twitter was calling Hay "racist" and some users were even asking for her crown to be removed. Hay took to Twitter to apologize for what she calls language that she's "not proud of and that there is no excuse for."
The Miss Teen USA pageant has not yet responded to Refinery29's request for comment on the controversy. Even before Hay's big win, Twitter was unhappy with the pageant. After the list of competitors was narrowed down from 51 young women to five finalists — which included Miss North Carolina Emily Wakeman, Miss South Carolina Marley Stokes, Miss Alabama Erin Snow, and Miss Nevada Carissa Morrow — the Miss Teen USA Twitter account announced the five finalists with photos of the young women.
Many noticed one striking similarity: All five finalists were white women with blonde hair. Model Chrissy Teigen called out Miss Teen USA in a tweet, saying, "Wow how can we choose from such a diverse bunch."
She wasn't the only person who noticed how similar the five finalists all looked. Fans quickly chimed in, as well. One tweeted, "Thought it was the same girl in 5 different poses," while another added, "Do they know it's the same girl five times."
This stands in marked difference to the Miss USA pageant, which featured multiple women of color as finalists.