Gabby Douglas has grown up a lot since her appearance at the Olympics four years ago—but that hasn’t made her immune to the negativity that targets her on social media.
The two-time Olympian’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, says the 20-year-old has been having a hard time dealing with a new wave of social media criticism at the Rio Games. In an interview with Reuters, Hawkins stated:
“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?”
Addressing the drama surrounding Gabby not putting her hand over her heart during the National Anthem, Hawkins continued:
“I don’t think respecting your country or your flag boils down to whether you put your hand over your heart or not,” Hawkins said. “We grew up in the military community. My mom spent almost 30 years in the military, my dad’s a two-time Vietnam vet. Because of that it was so insulting that they would accuse my daughter of being unpatriotic when we are so tied to the military family. When the Star Spangled Banner is played, most military members either salute or stand to attention.”
Hawkins also added that her daughter is “heartbroken” and is struggling with the harsh glare of life in the spotlight, saying, “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.’”
Despite the social media drama, Gabby Douglas continues to make her country proud in Rio, winning the All-Around Team Gold Medal with the Final Five.
SOURCE: PEOPLE | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram