The recently crowned Miss USA 2017 is already embroiled in controversy hours after the annual beauty pageant ended. To set things straight, Kara McCullough, 25, took to a televised interview to clarify her remarks.
According to Fox News, during an interview with ABC's morning show "Good Morning America" on May 16, McCullough took some time to explain her controversial comments. McCullough said that she stands by her original words during the pageant, but would have liked a little more time to refine her answer.
The Miss USA Pageant took place on the weekend of May 6-7, and like every year, the contestants had to endure multiple rounds of inquiry to determine a winner. During a question and answer session, Kara was asked if she considered health care to be a right or a privilege. She initially answered that it was a privilege.
"As a government employee, I'm granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs."
McCullough was also asked if she considered herself a feminist, to which she replied that she liked to replace the word feminism with "equalism."
The comments drew immediate criticism from various internet communities. Twitter was especially outraged, though many conservative users defended her stance.
But during her interview on "Good Morning America," Kara backtracked, explaining to host Michael Strahan that she was indeed a supporter of women's rights and that she had meant to say she was "privileged" to have coverage.
According to the Daily Mail, Strahan asked if McCullough was surprised by the internet's reaction. She replied with conviction.
"Not at all. I believe that's what America is based on, having opinions and views … But I would like to just take this moment to truly just clarify, because I am a woman, I'm going to own what I said. I am privileged to have health care and I do believe that it should be a right and I hope and pray moving forward that healthcare is a right for all worldwide."
McCullough, who works for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, also reiterated her views on feminism:
"For me, where I work with the nuclear regulatory commission, equalism, no matter your gender you're given the same accolades on your work so I believe the person does a good job, they should be ... credited for that in a sense … But I don't want anyone to [think] that I'm not about women's rights. We deserve a lot when it comes to opportunity in the workplace as well as leadership positions and seen and witnessed firsthand the impact women have."
With her first public appearance out of the way as Miss USA. 2017 out of the way and her comments clarified, McCullough says she just wants to move past these remarks and use her platform to inspire children to pursue futures in Science, technology, engineering, and math. It remains to be seen whether or not the internet will let her forget those statements quickly, though.