Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann faced backlash on social media after making derogatory comments about former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines. Olbermann took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to criticize Gaines' athletic abilities and suggest that she was a "terrible athlete." He urged her to acknowledge her shortcomings, stating, "You sucked at swimming. That's why you lost." Gaines had recently tied with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male and former member of the University of Pennsylvania women's swim team.
Olbermann's comments came in response to a post by Gaines defending a "Women's Bill of Rights," which emphasizes the biological differences between males and females. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen is reportedly the second governor in America to support this bill, arguing that men do not belong in women's only spaces, a stance he believes is common sense.
However, Olbermann's mocking of Gaines' athletic ability received widespread criticism from former teammates and political commentators. Gaines herself fired back at Olbermann, questioning his dismissal from ESPN and accusing him of perpetuating dismissive views that embolden men to invade women's spaces. Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who shared the same team as Lia Thomas, chastised Olbermann for ignoring the harm caused to women by the narrative of transgender inclusion in women's sports.
Scanlan, who has become an advocate for women's sports, shared Gaines' swim resume, which showcased her accomplishments, including accolades such as the SEC's "Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year" in 2022, an "All America in 200 free" award, and qualification for the Olympic Trials in 2021. Professor Emeritus Colin Wight also criticized Olbermann, highlighting the reality of Gaines' achievements and condemning his disrespectful behavior.
Washington Examiner contributor Kimberly Ross labeled Olbermann as “sexist” for his attacks on Gaines, suggesting that his statements should be directed towards Lia Thomas instead. Ross argued that Thomas, who identifies as female, had decided to compete against biological females to win in swimming events. She accused Olbermann of disregarding the invasion of women's spaces and the harm caused by this narrative.
Scanlan, who recently testified in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee about the transformation of the #MeToo movement, shared her experiences of being forced to undress in front of Lia Thomas in University of Pennsylvania locker rooms. She criticized women's organizations for neglecting the issue of sexual assault by transgender women. Scanlan argued that the #MeToo movement had been absorbed into the Democratic Party, losing its original focus on empowering female victims to speak up against abuse.
This report was contributed to by Fox News' Ryan Morik. For more coverage on culture, media, education, and opinion, visit foxnews.com/media.
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