Gabby Douglas Teams Up With Lady Gaga’s Foundation to Shut Down Cyberbullying
Olympics gold medalist Gabby Douglas is used to rigorous conditioning and tough coaching that comes with being a champion gymnast, but it wasn't until the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil that she faced her latest challenge — coping with cyberbullying.
In aninterview with Good Morning America this morning (December 16), Douglas explained how Olympics viewers tore her to shreds for seemingly inconsequential actions — making severe faces, not holding her hand over her heart during the National Anthem. Now, she's taking stand against cyberbullying, and encouraging social media users to take the Hack Harassment Pledge, a vow to be decent and respectful online. And Douglas' movement just so happens to be an extension of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation.
"I was caught off guard," Douglas recalled of seeing her name coupled with hateful tweets and vitriolic messages this summer. "I was like, 'Wait, what's going on?' I really wasn't on social media because of Olympic trials...I started googling myself which I probably shouldn't have done and there were just so many things about me."
"I was just so hurt because people brought up my past," she added.
On the upside, Douglas said the experience has helped her to see the pitfalls of trolling more clearly, and she's offering support to anyone who's being scrutinized online.
"I just want to say that you are not alone," she said. "And even though it may seem the world's against you — and I definitely felt like the world was definitely against me in Rio — I'm here today to tell you that's not the case."
"There are people out there who love you and your life is very valuable and it's very important, so just stay strong," she added.
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