Simone Biles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
(Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Men Are Being Weirdly Self-Righteous Over the Simone Biles Debacle

Simone Biles recently called out social media users for making disrespectful jokes about her husband, Jonathan Owens, and then things went even more off the rails.

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Strangely, it led to a lot of the same conservative men who launched racist attacks on Biles four years ago suddenly acting very self-righteous and shaming the alleged perpetrators in the debacle. Although many men are claiming that it was solely women responsible for the disrespectful jokes and comments, Biles issued her statement to both men and women who have been making jokes and offering opinions on her marriage for several months.

The interest in her relationship was sparked by statements Owens made on the podcast The Pivot in late 2023. Owens, who plays for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, received scrutiny when he said that he didn’t know who Biles was when they began dating. Of course, the statement stirred some shock, as even those without a particular interest in gymnasts know of Biles, given her iconic career and Olympic victories.

When pressed, Owens explained that he didn’t have the NBC and would’ve been busy with training camp at the time, so he hadn’t watched the Olympics. However, what especially drew criticism from listeners was his declaration that he was “the catch” in their relationship. According to him, the man is “always the catch” in a relationship because men aren’t as ready to commit.

Simone Biles calls out social media users for disrespecting her husband

Owens’ statements sparked much backlash from both men and women, as many perceived it as him trivializing her accomplishments or insinuating that he was the better athlete between the two. It’s understandable that some social media users would be concerned by the statements because it is not uncommon for men to feel threatened by successful women or even to declare that their status as men makes them superior to even the most accomplished women.

Many social media users made thoughtful videos commenting on the situation, although some took to poking fun at Owens. In most videos slamming his comments, users would refer to him as “Mr. Simone Biles” or “Simone Biles’ husband,” making fun of the idea that he didn’t know who Biles was when they only knew who he was because of his marriage to her. Some comments came from wholly well-meaning users who simply wanted to ensure Biles was being celebrated and credited for achievements, while others used the “Mr. Simone Biles” label to trivialize Owens’ achievements and declare he’s only famous because of his wife.

Things became very problematic, though, when Biles herself spoke out about her husband’s comments and confirmed that she wasn’t bothered by them. She mentioned that she was saddened by the backlash and didn’t feel the commentary accurately reflected who her husband is because she feels he’s really the “sweetest” guy. More nuanced, thoughtful conversations on the subject aside, that should have been the end of the jeering, but the “Mr. Simone Biles” jokes and takes have persisted.

Recently, Biles competed in the U.S. Classic, and all focus should’ve been on her victory. Instead, many who criticized Owens for trivializing Biles’ accomplishments are now doing the same by continuing to make everything about her husband. The gymnast finally had enough, releasing a statement on Instagram reading, “I’m going to quickly address this, the joke was never a joke! Y’all are blatantly being disrespectful to my relationship and my husband. So I’m gonna go ahead and say this one time. Respectfully, (expletive) off.” Her statement should’ve been the end of the matter yet again, but it suddenly led to some strange conversations on social media.

Why are people being weird over Biles’ latest statement?

Shortly after her statement condemning the disrespectful comments, Biles began trending on social media, and most of the conversations were quite strange. Some persisted in claiming that they were trying to protect Biles or that the comments shouldn’t offend her. However, one of the weirdest conversations arose from some very self-righteous right-wing men and women.

Although women weren’t the sole focus of Biles’ statement, many men began pushing the narrative that it was solely women responsible for the disrespectful comments and jumped at the opportunity to attack them. One user wrote a post calling women’s behavior “disgusting” and claiming they can’t understand how women are “so comfortable being terrible people.” Many takes also arose claiming that women were “harassing Biles” because they were “men-hating” and jealous “losers” who were waging war on happy marriages. Another user wrote that men-hating women despise nothing more “than a woman who loves her man.” Some women also joined in on the conversation, bashing other women for supposedly being unable to stand seeing other women living happy, fulfilling lives.

To be clear, anyone harassing and trolling Biles should be called out. However, it’s very weird that men are suddenly pretending that they have so much respect for Biles. After all, it was largely right-wing men who launched disgusting racist and sexist backlash against her after she dropped out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to prioritize her mental and physical health. Suddenly, all the conservative men, such as right-wing pundits Matt Walsh and Charlie Kirk, decided they were gymnastic experts and publicly attacked and shamed Biles for her decision.

Biles is far from the only victim of men online who frequently lead campaigns trolling, harassing, and threatening women and marginalized people, often for no reason. Now, suddenly, they are all pretending to be so horrified and disgusted at the women who commented on the Biles and Owens situation? It’s just strange how quick they are to tell women that they’re jealous losers, yet proudly turn around and embark on their own hateful smear campaigns.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.