Between Hateful Comments from Some Black Women and Racists, Gabby Douglas Falls Apart

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Gabby Douglas (Twitter)
Gabby Douglas (Twitter)

Gabby Douglas has faced harsh criticism at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio De Janerio, Brazil, including racist judgment and critiques of her hair from the Black community. It’s a far cry from her successful 2012 run in London, where she was mostly celebrated outside of talk about her tresses.

Douglas was slammed online last week for not placing her hand over her heart like her the rest of Team USA during the national anthem, dissed as being “salty” for not giving Simone Biles a standing ovation with her teammates, and continues to be questioned for her hair-do while performing her routines.

One white commentator pointed out Black women were to blame for Douglas’ hair backlash

Supporters on Twitter have taken notice of the negativity following Douglas.

@HBfromKC thought the saddest part of the cyber bullying was its source.

Clay defended the athlete and decried those who “ridiculed her the whole time.”

@DrTGIF called for the community to “protect” the star.

Keyon pointed out one detractor who he felt had no business commenting on the state of Douglas’ tresses.

@kidnoble thought the star “deserved  better” treatment in the Olympics.

On Sunday, Douglas finished seventh in the uneven bars. It was likely her last Olympic event. In a post-game interview, the 2012 all-around champion addressed the poor online feedback.

“I tried to stay off the internet because there’s just so much negativity,” a teary-eyed Douglas told press at the Olympic Arena. “Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. … It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.”

On her supposed lack of support for her teammates, Douglas apologized.

“I apologize if what may have … seemed to be me really mad in the stands [Thursday]. I wasn’t,” the 20-year-old explained, mentioning she was lending support to Aly Raisman who won silver after Biles beat her for gold in the women’s all-around. “I always will support them and respect them and everything that they do. So 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, and I should have.”

But the star said she has experienced a lot during the Games, referring to the unfortunate comments online.

“For me, it’s just like – it’s been a lot. And I’ve been through a lot. But I still love them. I still love the people who love me, still love them who hate me, and I’m just going to stand on that.”

The haters Douglas still loves, however, may have pushed her to tears.

After speaking with reporters, USA Today reports that the star seemed to be scrolling through social media on her phone. She then put it in her backpack, standing with a “heavy look on her face” before pulling it back out. Eventually she kneeled next to a fire hydrant and was seen dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

But Douglas has plenty of famous support. Singer Ledisi posted an uplifting message to the three-time Olympic gold medalist on Instagram.

India.Arie also dismissed bad talk of Douglas’ hair.

#LOVE4GABBYUSA has become a trending topic after the gymnast’s continued criticism.

Olympic commentator Leslie Jones encouraged others to “show her the love.”

Mrsaanis told the star to “continue to inspire.”

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