American track and field star Gwen Berry, who is heading to Tokyo to compete in the hammer throw, came under new scrutiny this week after internet users unearthed problematic tweets involving racist comments and rape “jokes.”
What is the background?
Berry made headlines last weekend after she protested during the playing of the national anthem at the at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. Berry finished third in the hammer throwing competition and qualified for her second Olympic games.
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry later said of the timing of the anthem. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” she added. “But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.”
Despite criticism, including demands from some Republican lawmakers that she be removed from Team USA, Berry said she will represent America in Tokyo. “I never said that I didn’t want to go to the Olympic Games, that’s why I competed and got third and made the team,” she said on the Black News Channel.
What do the old tweets say?
The majority of the tweets were published in 2011, while just a few were posted in 2012.
In one tweet from March 2012, Berry said, “[Shout out] to all the females that’s gon get drunk, get recked by 4 dudes, then cry rape this weekend.” In another from 2012, she said, “I’m about to rape my lunch.”
Numerous tweets targeted white people.
“White people are sooo retarded when they are drunk,” she said in 2011. “This lil white boy being bad as hell!! I would smack his ass then stomp him!! Smh #whitepplKids hella disrespectful,” she wrote in June 2011.
Berry also targeted Mexicans and Chinese people.
“Mexicans just don’t care about ppl,” a tweet posted to Berry’s account in 2012 said. “Just saw this gurl wearing heels with white socks!! What the Hell..#chineseppl always try to start new trends..smh..ggguuurrrllll,” Berry said in 2011.
As the New York Post noted, Berry has deleted some of the problematic tweets after they were uncovered.
How did Berry respond?
Berry responded Saturday by brushing aside the newest criticism, and, for some reason, invoking Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
“Is that the best THEY could come up with? I’ll just say I can relate to the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA Brett Kavanaugh and agree, there’s a lot of s**t I don’t do like I did when I was 18 or 20,” she said.