Miss America Speaks Out About Hazing Scandal
The new Miss America is speaking out over allegations that she was kicked out of her sorority for hazing.
Kira Kazantsev said on Good Morning America, "Unfortunately, these allegations, first of all, are just not true. I'm incredibly hurt that someone has said these things."
The hazing allegedly happened while Kazantsev was recruiting secretary of the Alpha Phi sorority at Hofstra University in New York.
"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," said Kazantsev.
The website Jezebel.com claimed she was "exceptionally harsh" to the pledges and made their lives "a living Hell" by demeaning their physical appearance.
But 23-year-old Kazantsev told Good Morning America the hazing involved only having pledges do menial tasks, like standing in line, reciting information and staying up all night doing arts and crafts.
"Everybody wants to be part of something and at the time unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university," she said.
On her website, Kazantsev went further, insisting: "I was never involved in any physical hazing or any degradation of physical appearance of any kind."
On Good Morning America, she was not wearing her crown, unlike most other appearances she has made as Miss America before the scandal erupted.
Some experts say hazing is as common among girls as it is among young men.
Video of an all-girl hazing at a high school in suburban Chicago shocked America, with scenes of girls being beaten and covered in mud.
And one student at San Jose State University in California told INSIDE EDITION she endured a paddling from her sorority sisters that echoed a scene in the movie Animal House, only there was nothing funny about her torment.
"They hit me and they kept hitting me," she explained.
Psychologist Dr. Susan Lipkins is the author of the book Preventing Hazing. Dr. Lipkins said, "Hazing these days, in this century, is much more violent and much more sexualized."
INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander asked, "What do you want people to understand about hazing?"
Dr. Lipkins replied, "The psychological effects of hazing in sororities are often deeper than in a fraternity. For women they usually go under the skin of the girls who are pledging and it really sticks with them. It sticks to their core and their self-image."