— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) August 15, 2016
Gabby Douglas has responded to the criticism she received from viewers for being “unpatriotic” by not putting her hand over her heart during the U.S. national anthem, “unsportsmanlike” by not looking happy enough during her teammate’s victory, and “unkempt” for her hair texture.
In response, the athlete is quoted in this article from People, tearing up and saying,
“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand on my heart of me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me. It doesn’t really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful.
… Everything I’ve gone through has been a lot this time around and I apologize if [I seemed] really mad in the stands. I wasn’t. I was supporting Aly. And I always will support them and respect them in everything they do. I never want anyone to take it as I was jealous or I wanted attention. Never. I support them, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t showing it.”
The online harassment Douglas has had to deal with is heartbreaking, and it’s clear in her response that it’s been a tough time for her. It’s incredibly unfair that the 20-year-old felt the need to apologize for not smiling or performing how strangers thought she “should.” The woman is a gold medalist! Why are you telling her to smile, instead of celebrating her accomplishments?
This nit-picking scrutiny, racially-coded harassment and disproportionate outrage didn’t go unnoticed, and many, including Douglas’ own mother and actress Leslie Jones jumped to her defense. The Ghostbusters star has been delivering flawless Olympics coverage, but also recently dealt with an ugly amount of internet bullying that made headlines. The hashtag that Jones started, #LOVE4GABBYUSA, takes inspiration from the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ, which began trending in support of the actress.
Douglas also added that despite the comments, she’s thankful for the experience, stating, “In the face of everything, you still stand and I have no regrets coming back [to the Olympics]. It’s been an amazing experience, an amazing journey so far, and it’s teaching me a lot. It’s teaching me so much.”
We have lots of #LOVE4GABBYUSA, and it’s great to see she’s not letting the trolls keep her down.
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