Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America a little over a week ago and she already has her first scandal! Which she's denying (already), natch.
Yesterday, Jezebel reported that Kazantsev was kicked out of Hofstra University's Alpha Phi for hazing sorority pledges.
After returning from her fall 2012 study abroad semester in Spain, Kazantsev began her term as Alpha Phi's Recruitment Committee President for the incoming pledges. Kazantsev and her best friend (another Alpha Phi sister who was also her roommate), our source says, were exceptionally harsh toward the pledges. (In the tipster's words, they made the recruits' lives "a living hell.") Under Kira's supervision, according to the source, 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—standard sorority pledge stuff paid forward by a person who our source says was herself brutally hazed upon entry into Alpha Phi.
This morning, on Good Morning America, Kazantsev said the allegations were "untrue... I’m incredibly hurt that someone has said these things."
According to GMA, Kazantsev "did not deny that she was involved in hazing while at the university," but did said, "All I can do is sit here and be honest and share that, yes, I was involved under the broad definition of hazing at some point but never ever in a million years what this is claiming to hold." She insisted that the hazing she participated in was "menial"—like "reciting information and spending sleepless nights crafting."
As for being kicked out of the sorority, Kazantsev explained it was over an email, "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 e-mail, I basically made a joke and that was taken out of context and was forwarded to the national office."
Kazantsev, whose platform is domestic violence, added, "I was hazed. I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that’s appropriate behavior when, clearly, I’m two years removed from the organization today and I understand that that’s just not true."