Gabby Douglas has stirred controversy for remarks toward fellow Olympian Aly Raisman, who claimed she was sexually abused by the former doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. “It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy,” Douglas tweeted. “Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
— TripleTwist (@TripleTwistGym) November 17, 2017
In a now deleted tweet that’s been circulated as a screenshot, Douglas, 21, made the statement Friday while sharing a tweet by Raisman, which read, “We are all in this together. If we’re going to create change, I need all your help.”
We are all in this together. If we are going to create change I need all your help. pic.twitter.com/q9d12z0KHn
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) November 17, 2017
In August, Raisman, 23, a three-time gold Olympic medal winner on the U.S. gymnastics team, revealed during a 60 Minutes interview that she was sexually abused by Dr. Larry Nassar, the former doctor of the U.S. team, who has been incarcerated after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. According to CBS News, more than 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against him on grounds that he abused them while supposedly treating them for injuries.
In an interview with the Associated Press and USA Today, Raisman also expressed disappointment toward the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S.A. Gymnastics for not prioritizing the safety of the athletes.
“The people at the very top, that work at the office every single day at USA Gymnastics, they need to do better,” she said, adding, “It’s making me sad. I’m here to support my teammates because we got inducted to the Hall of Fame and I’m here to support the girls who are competing. I love the Olympics, I love gymnastics, I love the sport. But I don’t support how USA Gymnastics is handling everything right now.”
Shortly after Douglas shared her opinion, Twitter exploded with backlash.
At one point Gabby Douglas was being criticized on an international scale for her “bad hair” and “attitude,” and SO MANY people supported her to drown out the silly critics. She knows how it feels, but here she is shaming Aly Raisman on sexual assault. It’s gross.
— Lea (@_MissLeandra) November 17, 2017
.@gabrielledoug this is an excellent chance to listen to your followers, learn why your opinion contributes to misogyny, and apologize for what you said. You can do better.
— Jamie Miller (@JamieKM16) November 17, 2017
I’m so frustrated because I looked up to you for so long. I was assaulted when I was 11. In my pajamas. Please tell me how i could’ve prevented this and how I didn’t have responsibility.
— jess (@riseupliam) November 17, 2017
Fellow Olympic gymnast Simone Biles also threw her support behind Raisman, tweeting, “shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG.”
shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there!
STAY STRONG pic.twitter.com/CccTzhyPcb
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 17, 2017
At one point, Douglas began responding to her critics.
? girl what r u talking about ?
— Gabby Douglas (@gabrielledoug) November 17, 2017
u misunderstood me. not blaming the victim at all. no man should look at any woman that way.
— Gabby Douglas (@gabrielledoug) November 17, 2017
She later followed up with an apology, saying that she didn’t correctly word her reply and she’s “deeply sorry” for coming off like she wasn’t standing by her teammates. “Regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstances is never acceptable. I am WITH you. #metoo,” she added.
i didn’t correctly word my reply & i am deeply sorry for coming off like i don’t stand alongside my teammates. regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable. i am WITH you. #metoo
— Gabby Douglas (@gabrielledoug) November 18, 2017
In the past, Douglas has been slammed for not supporting her teammates, and was even dubbed “Crabby Gabby” on social media, in part for not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem.
“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand up on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me, and it doesn’t really feel good,” Douglas said, according to the Washington Post. “It was a little bit hurtful.”
She added, “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 [Raisman]. 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. I’ve been through a lot. I still love them. I still love the people who love me. Still love them who hate me. I’m just going to stand on that.”
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