Alexis Ohanian called the public reaction to his wife, tennis star Serena Williams, defending herself against an umpire “bullshit” when viewed in comparison to the assessments of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Williams was criticized for responding emotionally to an umpire’s calls during her U.S. Open tennis final last month. Kavanaugh was also visibly upset during his testimony two weeks ago — something the White House defended.
Deborah Barros, a candidate for Alabama State Senate, wrote in a tweet on Saturday that it was “funny how a black female tennis player is held to a higher standard to keep her emotions in check than a Supreme Court nominee.”
Reddit co-founder Ohanian responded to Barros’ tweet with a brief thread, saying, “it’s not funny, it’s bullshit,” before lacing into Kavanaugh’s behavior.
At different points during his testimony, Kavanaugh cried, shouted, turned senators’ questions back on themselves and took many a dramatic pause. His behavior was widely discussed on social media afterward, with many remarking that had he been a woman, his emotional reaction would be perceived very differently.
Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court Saturday.
Williams, who was accused of receiving coaching during her final against Naomi Osaka, ultimately lost the match because of violations the umpire doled out in reaction to Williams defending herself. The incident led to articles across the globe criticizing her behavior and even a racist and sexist caricature of the tennis star in The Herald Sun.
Ohanian ended his thoughts by writing, “if you’re going to be a Supreme Court Justice ― a job that requires maintaining sober judgement ― it shouldn’t matter what questions you have to answer in your job interview, you keep it together.”
He also added that he looks “forward to the cartoon [Herald Sun editor Damon Johnson] puts on the front page about it.”
Serena Williams sits on the board of advisers to Oath, HuffPost’s parent company.