The newly crowned Miss America, who is of Indian descent, responded to an outcry over her win that included Internet posts linking her to terrorism and implying that she should be working in a 7-11 store.
Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, brushed off the comments, USA Today reports. In her first news conference after the pageant, Davuluri said: "I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity. I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."
Commenting on the online outcry, she said: "I have to rise above that. I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."
"She was referred to as ‘the Arab’ by some and other commenters noted ‘This is America, not India.’ One called her ‘Miss 7-11,’" the story reports. "There were those who huffed about it being inappropriately close to 9/11. Some mentioned ties to al-Qaeda and at least one flat-out called her a terrorist."
But Davuluri has also been explaining a separate controversy. "According to Page Six, Davuluri was said to have been heard on tape in July in her hotel room after she was crowned Miss New York as saying that Miss America 2013, New York’s Mallory Hagan, was ‘fat as (expletive),’" the story reports. "At the time, she said the remarks were made by ‘people in my room’ and MIss America organizers said there was ‘no validity’ to the report."
Today on "Good Morning America," Davuluri reportedly told Lara Spencer: "It was such an unfortunate situation. I never made those comments. I called Mallory and have apologized to her because it was the right thing to do. And we worked it out. She’s been an incredible resource throughout this journey."