The Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss Teen USA pageant, issued a statement Sunday chastising Karlie Hay's words but also "supporting her continued growth."
After she was crowned Saturday night in Las Vegas, social media users found tweets containing the N-word linked to an account with Hay's name.
A screenshot of the four tweets from 2013 and 2014 has been making the rounds online.
Pageant officials, referencing an apology Hay posted to Twitter and Instagram, say the 18-year-old was going through personal struggles and regrets her words.
Hay, of Tomball, Texas, says she will use her platform to advocate for those affected by drug and alcohol abuse.