Gabby Douglas Opens Up About 'Hurtful' Twitter Criticism, Bullying
By Rachel McRady
Gabby Douglas has had enough. After apologizing last week for perceived disrespect when she didn’t place her hand over her heart for the “National Anthem” at the medal ceremony, the 20-year-old Olympian is tired of her online criticism.
Douglas spoke to reporters over the weekend about the online bullying she has received throughout the Rio games.
"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 [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."
The gold medalist seems surprised by the response from critics, saying, “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’ mom, Natalie Hawkins, spoke with Reuters about her daughter’s treatment, saying, "What I saw in the stands was someone who was hurting and she was also angry. What was going through her head was 'I'm being attacked for everything I do so I might as well not do anything. Because no matter what I do, I am being attacked."
"In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played," she wrote. "I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone."