Gabby Douglas Responds to Internet Hate: ‘It’s Been Kind of a Lot to Deal With’

Gabby Douglas has been in the headlines a lot during the Rio Olympics, but not always because of her performance in the gym.

The 20-year-old gymnast was first slammed on social media for not putting her hand over her heart during the playing of the National Anthem, which many deemed “unpatriotic” and “disrespectful.”

She later issued a public apology, saying that she didn’t mean to offend anyone with her actions.

Douglas was then accused of throwing shade at her teammate Simone Biles when she didn’t join Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian in giving Biles a standing ovation after she was awarded gold in the All-Around competition.

Now, Douglas is speaking out against the internet trolls, and it seems like she’s had enough of the hate.

“I tried to stay off the internet because there’s just so much negativity,” she said. “Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart or I look depressed. It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.”

“I apologized if I offended anyone,” she continued. “I’ve always said it was an honor to represent the U.S. You always do this for your country, and then, like people say, for yourself and other people.”

Douglas, who won gold in the All-Around final at the 2012 London Olympics, was unable to defend her title this year after being edged out by her team captain Aly Raisman, who went on to win the silver.

After hearing rumors that she was feuding with Raisman and Biles, Douglas says she was particularly taken aback.

“When I heard some of the comments, I was finally like ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s far from me and far from my personality at all,'” she said.

Douglas’s mom, Natalie Hawkins, also told Reuters that her daughter has been really hurt by all the hate.

“She’s had to deal with people criticizing her hair, or people accusing her of bleaching her skin,” she explained. “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?”


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