'I'm fed up and shutting this down!' Gabby Douglas' puts her foot down over cruel online trolls, vowing to block anyone who 'can't be nice' in furious Instagram post
- The 20-year-old Olympic champion has long been the victim of accusations and attacks online
- But recently she decided that she was 'fed up' with the insults, vowing on Thursday that anyone posting nasty messages would be blocked
- Gabby was previously criticized for not placing hand on heart during national anthem and was given the name 'Crabby Gabby' by critics
Gabby Douglas has simply had it with the constant stream of abuse she has received online.
The 20-year-old gymnast took to Instagram on Thursday to address her haters directly, telling them that if she sees any further negative comments, the perpetrator would be blocks.
'OKK this needs to be addressed, I'm fed up and shutting this down,' she wrote. '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.'
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Standing tall: Gabby Douglas has hit out at online trolls online, saying that she will be blocking any haters from now on
A real performer: Gabby suffered through cruel taunts online despite gold medal-winning performances in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games
Putting it out there: Gabby shared this post on Instagram on Thursday as a warning to her less than pleasant followers
She added that if anyone is finding it difficult to fill their time, she would be happy to help them find some volunteer work or 'anything to help you become a more well-rounded, less obnoxious individual.'
She finished the post with the inclusion of the hashtags reading #Ifyoucan'tbenicepreparetogetblocked and #Hatefreezone.
It's partially surprising that it took so long for Gabby to finally ban her haters from her social media, as the cruel taunts were leaving her in tears back during the Rio Olympics.
Back in August, Gabby's mother told Reuters just how badly the comments were hurting her daughter.
Taking it out: Gabby vowed to block anyone who engaged in bullying on her Instagram page
A hard fight: Gabby has been the target of abuse over everything from her hair to her facial expressions
The 20-year-old athlete had been attacked for not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem at a medal ceremony - a gesture some perceived as a lack of patriotism.
She also faced criticism for not joining a standing ovation for two of her team mates.
Her mother, Natalie Hawkins, explained how Gabby was heartbroken as bullies attacked her appearance, accusing her of being unpatriotic, and by mocking her with a mean-spirited nickname, 'Crabby Gabby', on social media.
'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',' Hawkins told Reuters in an interview.
Mother's love: Natalie Hawkins (pictured at the 2012 London Olympics after Gabby won the gymnastics all-around final) defended her daughter in an interview in August
'You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?'
For the second Games running, Gabby found herself caught in a firestorm despite yet another gold-winning performance in Rio.
In 2012 Twitter went into overdrive after Gabby became the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. But rather than lauding her excellence, critics rounded on her for the state of her hair during the final.
Four years on and Gabby has another Olympic gold, from the women's team competition, but the sheen from that victory has also been tarnished after TV cameras showed her standing to attention during the national anthem.
Strong: Douglas was attacked for not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem at a medal ceremony
Nitpicking: Gabby smiled during the medal ceremony for the artistic gymnastics women's team but kept her hands held together
'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.
'It's in your actions towards your country, how well are you abiding by its laws, how well are you helping your fellow citizens?
'We grew up in the military community. My mum 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.'
But Tuesday's furore over what the correct protocol is when the American flag is raised was neither the beginning nor the end of Gabby's problems.
Telling it: Hawkins (pictured in 2012), who raised four children as a single mother, said her daughter had been left heartbroken as bullies criticize her appearance
More to go: Gabby has also faced criticism for not joining a standing ovation for her team mates, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman
She was also criticized for not giving team mates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman a standing ovation when they claimed gold and silver in Thursday's all around final.
With accusations that Gabby was angry and jealous at being denied a place in the final, since rules state only the top two performers from each country can progress to the final, #CrabbyGabby started trending on social media.
'We've been brought to many tears because I don't know what she's done to warrant such an attack. To me it looks like she is being bullied,' said Hawkins.
All this unwanted attention on her daughter has been painful for Hawkins to watch. Despite being in Rio to cheer on Gabby, she is unable to give her a comforting hug.
Team rules limit contact to phone calls and texts until athletes are done competing.
'What I saw in the stands was someone who was hurting and she was also angry,' added Hawkins.
'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'.'
Social media users nicknamed Gabby (pictured with team mates Laurie Hernandez, center, and Madison Kocian, right) 'Crabby Gabby'
Hawkins doesn't know whether her daughter is being targeted because of her race.
'Many people are telling me that all the time. And that's from white people and black people. I don't want to believe (it's a race attack) as I want to have more faith,' she said.
'But when I go on Twitter, I can't help but see that all the blacks are saying: 'Was it just the white people that are saying this against us?'
'Maybe people are very frustrated. Our country has a lot of unrest and turmoil recently and people are frustrated and maybe they just want to vent and they just see someone innocent ... and bully them.'
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