Miss America Kira Kazantsev Responds to Sorority Hazing Allegations

The newly crowned winner claims her dismissal from Alpha Phi was for a bad "joke"

Photo: Mel Evans/AP

Another year, another Miss America controversy.

Reports have surfaced on Jezebel that Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, was kicked out of her Hofstra University sorority, Alpha Phi, for abusive hazing in April 2013.

Kazantsev’s dismissal has been confirmed by the Alpha Phi International Fraternity and the Miss America Organization – and the pageant winner herself.

On Tuesday, Kazantsev, 23, published a new post on her blog and appeared on Good Morning America to respond to the claims, which included, “pledges … called names, berated for their perceived physical flaws and imperfections, and made to perform physical tasks to the point of bruising and exhaustion,” an unnamed source told Jezebel.

Kazantsev called the accusations “untrue” and “hurtful.”

Kazantsev Defends Herself

The beauty queen clarified her role in the hazing on the morning show: “Under the broad definition of hazing, yes, I was involved with some of those activities while I was at Hofstra,” she told co-host Lara Spencer. “At the time, unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university.”

As for what got her kicked out of the sorority, Kazantsev said it was an inappropriate email that may have suggested hazing.

“I was asked by a new member educator when I was a senior to reach out to the alumni base, to have an event of sorts. In the email, I basically made a joke and that was taken out of context and was forwarded to the national office,” she explained.

The joke, she said, was that, ” ‘We would make the evening scary for pledges.’ [However], that event never came to fruition and none of these things that I’ve been accused of ever happened or were ever intended to happen.”

In her new blog post, Kazantsev, who once served as the chapter’s new member educator, also says she never abused pledges.

“I was never involved with any name-calling or use of profanity toward a girl during my time with the sorority,” she wrote in bold. “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.”

Miss America Organization Responds

Meanwhile, the Miss America Organization has released a statement in support of the beauty queen:

“Kira has been very open and candid about her termination from the Alpha Phi sorority. It’s unfortunate that this incident and unsourced allegations have been exploited to create a storyline that distracts from what we should be focusing on: Kira’s impressive academic achievements at Hofstra University, including earning a triple major from the Honors College and her commitment to serving her community.”

“Kira is an exceptional ambassador for the Miss America Organization and we are excited to be a part of her journey as a force for good across our nation, promoting education and service and working to empower young women,” the statement concludes.

Keeping with her sunny disposition that made her a hit during the pageant, Kazantsev said on GMA that she learned from the experience.

“I’m going to take this negative and turn it into a positive,” she said. “It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s life.”

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