A Maine lobster festival pageant queen is in hot water, and waving her crown goodbye, after controversial photographs surfaced online.
Taylor Hamlin, 18, was crowned the Maine Lobster Festival's Sea Goddess days ago and was preparing to take part Rockland's parade when festival organizers told her they had a problem.
"They said it was about social media," she said.
Hamlin was surprised to learn that pictures from her private Instagram account were shown to the lobster festival leadership. In one photo, she was holding a vaping device called a Juul. In another picture, she is holding a joint.
"It was a joke," she said. "I'm 18 so [a Juul] is legal for me to use. [Marijuana] is legal in Maine. But I do understand I'm not of age, and it's not appropriate," said Hamlin.
While she admits it was a mistake to post the photos, she thinks it was unfair for festival organizers to crack down and pressure her to resign.
"I know what I did was wrong, but I don't think this is the way they should have handled it," she said.
Maine Lobster Festival President Cynthia Powell said it was a difficult decision. "We wish her all the very, very best," said Powell. "I think there's a lesson for everyone ... that the wold is social media."
The photos that got her in trouble have since been deleted. Hamlin wrote a post on her Facebook page thanking her supporters, saying "I'm sorry to whoever didn't receive the sea goddess they wanted and felt the need to sabotage this amazing thing that happened to me."
A different pageant contestant will be taking Hamlin's place and marching in the parade on Saturday.