Yesterday, we reported that 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev was kicked out of her sorority for abusively hazing pledges. Today, Good Morning America, the marquee morning show on ABC (the network that airs the Miss America pageant), had Kazantsev on to clarify what happened.
To her credit, Kazantsev explained how she got kicked out of Alpha Phi, pretty much affirming exactly what we reported yesterday — she'd been a victim of pledging herself and that as a senior, she paid it forward by participating in illegal pledging activities. She claims that the reason that she was kicked out of Alpha Phi wasn't that she was caught in the act or reported to higher ups, though; she says that her fatal slip up was making a joke in an email to sorority alumnae. (Which doesn't explain why an email she sent would result in both her and her best friend/roommate/fellow Alpha Phi senior getting the heave-ho, but GMA's Lara Spencer wasn't exactly throwing her anything but the softest of balls.)
The TL;DR version of this interview was "Yes, I did all that stuff but I certainly did not do that stuff." Ultimately, Kazantsev doesn't seem to "get" that hazing is a big deal, and that she's actually in a position to make a big difference by starting a conversation that could actually lead to changes. A shame, really.
It should also be noted that in "reporting" on this story, GMA did not reach out to me or anyone at Jezebel for comment or clarification; they just had Kazantsev on to deliver her talking points to a sympathetic anchor on the TV home of Miss America. If ABC had reached out, they would have known that since the story ran, we've learned more, and that things are still developing on our end. It would have been a tougher interview. But that's clearly not what GMA wanted.
I'm a person currently not wearing pants who is paid to internet goof who makes maps of bros and waxes philosophical about Ryan Lochte and drops the f-bomb in satirical pieces about the Supreme Court. It should be embarrassing to Good Morning America and any ostensible purveyor of news (although — let's be real — most of the time, morning TV programs are circle jerks performed by real journalists who have reached the point in their illustrious careers when they can stop doing anything useful and start cashing in by providing voiceovers for what boils down to live advertisements) to be called out like this by someone like me. But to feverishly circle the wagons when one of their prime commercial properties is discussed unflatteringly and deliver it as "news" by accomplished journalists sitting behind a desk isn't just unprofessional — it's deliberately misleading. The kids would call it bullshit.