The 2016 Rio Olympics are on, and while many have reason to celebrate and smile, talented gymnast Gabby Douglas is devastated. Across the internet Gabby Douglas comments have been extremely critical, four years after she won a gold medal in gymnastics for the 2012 London Olympics. In an onslaught of social media bullying, Gabby Douglas’ critics have nicknamed her “Crabby Gabby.” In a Gabby Douglas press conference on CNN, reporter Alisyn Camerota interviewed Natalie Hawkins (Douglas’ mother) about the experience.
Chastised for Her Demeanor
Hawkins tried to hold it together and she spoke about the types of comments her 20-year-old daughter has seen on social media since 2012, and how disappointed she was about the hate being spread. The Gabby Douglas backlash started up again because of her demeanor during the medal ceremony in Rio where, to some, she appeared unsupportive and envious. She was chastised for not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem, as if that motion alone determined a lack of pride for her country.
A Public Apology
Douglas felt so guilty after receiving all the criticism, she issued a public apology on her Twitter account, thanking everyone for their support and apologizing for offending everyone. She ended the tweet on a positive note, “I’m so overwhelmed at what our team accomplished today and overjoyed that we were able to bring home another gold for our country!” What a strong and inspiring young woman!
Cyber Bullied Since 2012
The offensive comments didn’t start there; they’ve been going on since 2012. Cyber bullies have been hurling insults about her skin tone, attitude and even her hair since her win in 2012, as the first African-American woman to win gold in the Olympic title. As a 20-year-old under pressure to achieve such high goals, it can really put a damper on your success to be bullied about something you have little control over! At first she was upset, but eventually she mustered enough courage to defend herself and stand up against the haters. You go girl!
Support from Stars
On a positive note, Douglas became a hit in 2012 as she starred in her own TV movie (and a reality TV series about her family), Douglas Family Gold. Despite the criticism, her family stands strong together and will hopefully continue to do so! Douglas has also been receiving a lot of support from stars in the media, specifically Leslie Jones from the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live and the female-lead of Ghostbusters (2016). Jones used her Twitter account as a platform to stand up for Douglas and shut down the haters. Jones even started a Twitter trend to spread love across social media and drown out the hate. You can share your love for her too using #LOVE4GABBYUSA on Twitter and Instagram! Every fight against cyber bullying is a just cause, and we’re happy to see things are looking up for Douglas.