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02/28/2018 11:53 am ET

Gus Kenworthy Calls Out Unchecked Homophobia On YouTube After Olympics

"I'm confident enough to brush it off but a younger me would have had a harder time."
Gus Kenworthy is seen at a press conference during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Feb. 11, 2018.
Ker Robertson via Getty Images
Gus Kenworthy is seen at a press conference during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Feb. 11, 2018.

American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy might not have medaled at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this year, but he has had quite the impact in another respect.

The openly gay athlete made Olympic magic at the games ― kissing his boyfriend after a run on the slopes, calling out Vice President Mike Pence and first daughter Ivanka Trump and striking up a friendship with figure skater Adam Rippon, who is also gay.

However, homophobes have targeted Kenworthy, spewing hatred in the comments section of his Feb. 21 YouTube video “Feeling Like a Champion!”

On Tuesday, Kenworthy tweeted screenshots of some particularly vile comments.

His post elicited a strong response from followers, as it illustrated that even one of the biggest celebrities from this year’s Olympics still has to deal with anti-gay attacks. 

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton expressed her sympathy on social media, telling the skier that the comments “reflect on the people making them, not you.”

Later in the day, Kenworthy received a response from YouTube’s official Twitter page, which said the company was “actively working” to remedy the situation.

“This is unacceptable, we’re so sorry these comments and notifications came through to you,” the tweet reads. “We’re actively working to fix this so you won’t see or be notified of abusive comments and exploring more ways to protect people from abusive comments overall.”

Kenworthy responded on Wednesday with some suggestions for the company’s screening policy, explaining that these slurs and hateful messages could have done serious damage to a younger, less confident version of himself.

Kenworthy, who won a silver medal during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, didn’t come out until the following year. Since then, he’s been a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community.

“For me getting to be out at this Games has been the most rewarding thing,” he told HuffPost earlier this month. “But getting to leave here knowing that I actually brought myself to the Games, and I was true to myself and I gave it my all, I think I’m leaving with my head held higher than I did last time with a medal when I wasn’t being honest about who I was.”

HuffPost

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