This gymnast has been bullied online for being ‘unpatriotic’


United States’ Gabrielle Douglas.
Image: AP

UPDATED (4:00 p.m. PT): Updated to include Douglas’ tweet of response.

The mother of U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas has spoken out about the sheer amount of online bullying and abuse her daughter has received during the Rio Olympics.

Douglas, 20, was targeted with allegations she was being unpatriotic for failing to place her hand over her heart during the U.S. national anthem.

She was also attacked over her appearance and for not taking part in a standing ovation for her teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman when they won gold and silver in the all around final.

#CrabbyGabby started trending on social media last week, with people accusing her of being a hater and a bad loser:

The athlete’s mom told Reuters Douglas was heartbroken due to the online bullying she received:

“She’s had to deal with people criticizing her hair, or people accusing her of bleaching her skin. They said she had breast enhancements, they said she wasn’t smiling enough, she’s unpatriotic. Then it went to not supporting your team mates. Now you’re “Crabby Gabby.”

“You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?”

This is not the first time Douglas has received the unwanted attention of haters online. In 2012, she won the all-around gold but some Twitter trolls focused on the state of her hair during the final.

In Rio, she won a gold medal from the women’s team competition, but finished 7th in her individual event. In an interview with the Washington Post, Douglas confessed she was forced away from the internet during the Olympics to avoid the “negativity”.

“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand up on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, theyre really criticizing me, and it doesnt really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful,” she told the publication.

Fortunately, a lot of people also took to Twitter to defend her from the bullying, led by Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters star and Olympics superfan Leslie Jones.

Others jumped on the bandwagon of support.

On Monday afternoon, Douglas tweeted thanks to Jones and others who had taken to showing her support online.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/15/gabby-douglas-us-gymnast-rio-olympics/