While Olympian Gabby Douglas should be praised for her outstanding representation at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the 20-year-old young athlete, once again, met with harsh criticism and cyber bullying about not only her hair, again, but about her not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem.
Taking to Instagram, the talented athlete served her haters the ultimate clapback, by confronting them head-on. “OKK, this needs to be addressed,” she wrote on her account. “I am fed up and shutting this down. The people that want to be petty EXIT STAGE LEFT PLEASE. Honestly if you’re gonna be foul just to be nasty or vile to comment I can help you find better ways to pass the time.”
And finding a better way she has! Recently, it was announced that the 3-time U.S. gold medalist has teamed up with Hack Harassment to be their first Change Ambassador to help decrease the frequency and severity of online harassment. In this role, Douglas will help to champion the initiative’s efforts and elevate the conversation, driving young people towards real change.
“Gabby’s compelling story and firsthand experience with the consequences of online harassment make her a uniquely well-positioned spokesperson for Hack Harassment,” stated Chris Loo, director of Hack Harassment in an official release. “We are so thankful to have Gabby as a Change Ambassador and look forward to our work together as we raise awareness of the issue and begin cultivating real solutions to creating a safer and more inclusive online experience for all.”
Per the Pew Research center, 40% of internet users have experienced some sort of online harassment. While the severity of these incidents varies, almost a third of those profiled say that the experience made them fear for their lives and 15% of the respondents said that the incidents have affected their reputation.
Hack Harassment is a collaborative initiative launched by Intel, Vox Media, Recode and Born This Way Foundation. To find out more information about Hack Harassment and their mission, visit their website.