Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann called on former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines to acknowledge that she was a terrible athlete in a post that is receiving backlash on social media.
“Can you just address the reality and move past it?” Olbermann wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “You sucked at swimming. That’s why you lost.”
Gaines famously tied with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male and former member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team.
Olbermann was responding to a post Gaines made in defense of a “Women’s Bill of Rights,” which postulates that “males and females possess immutable biological differences.” Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen is reportedly the second governor in America who has established the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” telling constituents Wednesday that it’s “common sense that men do not belong in women’s only spaces.” Olbermann, a former MSNBC and ESPN host, was widely criticized for his mockery of Gaines’ athletic ability by former teammates and political commentators. Gaines herself fired back at Olbermann for his comments.
“Ah, makes sense now why you got fired from ESPN,” she wrote.
“Your political bias blinds you and dismissive views like yours embolden men to change in front of us,” former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan told Olbermann. “Why don’t you address the reality that women’s spaces are being invaded and many women are harmed by this narrative.”
Scanlan, who was on the same team as Thomas, has become a leading advocate for women’s sports after she said she was forced to undress in front of Thomas in University of Pennsylvania locker rooms.Prof. Emeritus Colin Wight shared a link to Gaines’ swim résumé, which included an award from the SEC for “Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” 2022 “All America in 200 free” award and even an “Olympic Trials qualifier” in 2021.
“The reality is staring you in the face,” Wight told Olbermann. “And you’re a nasty ignorant man. Sucked at swimming.”
Washington Examiner contributor Kimberly Ross called Olbermann “sexist” for his attacks on Gaines.
“I’m sorry?” she wrote. “Your statement should be directed toward a dude named Lia Thomas. He sucks at swimming against biological males so much so that he decided to identify as female just so he could win. How sexist and sad. Both you and ‘Lia.’”Scanlan recently testified in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee about how the #MeToo movement, that once “empowered female victims to speak up” about abuse, she said, has fundamentally changed.
She similarly argued in an op-ed for the Telegraph that the #MeToo movement “was absorbed, as so sadly has been the case with many other women’s organizations in the U.S., into the Democratic Party.”
Scanlan noted that she was forced to “relive” the “trauma of [her] sexual assault by undressing in front of” Thomas, but sexual assault by transgender women has seemingly been neglected by the “women’s organisations.”