Australian Olympian Tweets ‘Suck on That F*ggots’, Loses Sponsor

Rice

Australian Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice, who won three gold medals in Beijing 2008 and holds the world record in the 400m indicidual medley, lost a major sponsorship from Jaguar over the weekend for sending out a tweet containing an anti-gay slur, Reuters reports:

"Rice, 22, tweeted 'Suck on that f–gots' after Australia's rugby union team, the Wallabies, defeated South Africa's Springboks on Saturday. The swimmer, who won both individual medleys at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was part of Australia's victorious 4×200 freestyle team, later apologized and removed the comment. 'I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologize,' she wrote in a blog on her website. But Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that his company has withdrawn its sponsorship."

Along with the sponsorship Rice also loses a $100K Jaguar she had been driving. Her otter sponsor, Sunrice, criticized Rice's statement but made no move to withdraw.

The withdrawal of Jaguar's endorsement came after outrage over the tweet, which Rice deleted.

Perhaps the most vocal anger came from Australian gay rugby icon Ian Roberts.

Said Roberts: "She is an idiot . . . and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well. And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool. And if her sponsors don't do something about it, they're fools as well…Ialso like seeing Australians do well. But it is never acceptable to belittle gay people."

Mitcham Gold-winning Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham defended Rice from the criticism, saying he had forgiven her:

"I know she's not homophobic because we are good friends. It was just an extremely poor choice of words. Some people when they use that language don't realise they are causing offence. But it is an issue for a lot of gay people, who get quite upset about it because they have spent so long trying to change people's mentality about these things. I don't find that term very offensive because of my generation but other people do, and you have to consider everyone."

 

Comments

  1. Martin Murray says

    Her other major sponsor not mentioned in the story is Davenport Underwear. This is a brand that is extremely popular with gay people in Australia. They are refusing to distance themselves from Rice’s comments. Why not mail them and tell them to start treating their gay customers with a bit more respect. They can be reached at:
    customerservice@davenportunderwear.com.au

  2. says

    Good on Jaguar for dumping her sorry ass. I don’t understand the excuse “…in the excitement of the moment.” I have never said hate speech out of excitement. Would she still feel sorry if she didn’t lose her jaguar??

  3. sparks says

    I know some folks around here will be tempted to call Jaguar’s reaction heavy-handed. But this is how it SHOULD be. The GLBT community shouldn’t have to stage boycotts and protests; and GLBT organizations shouldn’t have to hold press conferences or buy pages in the national press to post open letters calling on a company to respond.

    Kudos to Jaguar and its management for discontinuing sponsorship of that bigot because it was the right thing to do.

    Too many other companies would have simply released a statement of apology or condemned the specific act, without any real action to back it up. EVERY instance of such behavior requires real and immediate consequence, however, if we ever want the sports world to excise homophobic expressions from its lexicon.

  4. Disgusted Gay American says

    it seems the way she said it was…kinda like “suck on this bitches”..but used the word Faggots instead….poor choice of words….but I wouldn’t hold it against her – IF her apology is sincere.

  5. Tigerama says

    Well done, Jaguar.

    Those of you saying “Oh, well she didn’t mean it…”

    That’s how we got into this mess – by saying it was okay. Time to stop saying it’s okay. Ever.

  6. Rocky Falco says

    Matthew, you want equal rights, then stop apologizing for your homophobic friends or IT WILL NEVER STOP!!

    OH, one more thing MATTHEW, I’m a 65yr old Gay Man and i have been dealing with homophobic NUTS all my life. I call them on it, I DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR THEM!!

  7. says

    “Thud”
    *the sound of my jaw hitting the floor*

    I’m in my 50’s and have never known ‘anyone’ who thought this was a term of endearment or acceptable in ‘jest’.

    She may not ‘intensely hate or fear’ homosexuals, but she definitely doesn’t care about what is ‘unacceptable’ language towards one of the LBGT community’s members. Otherwise she would have known better.

  8. jason says

    Since when is “faggot” a term of endearment? Maybe for drug-fucked queens it is, but certainly not for me. Drug-fucked queens can call each other “faggot” if they wish but please don’t extend your notions to me.

    As for Stephanie Rice, all I can say is “stupid girl”.

  9. Douglas Campbell says

    It may have been offensive to a lot of people, and Jaguar has every right to drop her, but I wouldn’t consider it “hateful”. Hateful would mean she was definitely homophobic and meant it maliciously. I agree with Matthew that different generations think of these words differently. I’ve always thought that using the “N word” is only shocking today because older generations have forbidden it. Because of that, it will always be a powerful word, when we could be so much closer to removing it’s power. Kids today call each other “bitches” because they’re told not to by their parents. A lot of gay people i know use the word “fag” among their friends, just as the community has embraced the words “gay” and “queer”. People can’t help it if it bothers them, but I hope that the controversy fades as the years pass and the next generation can see more clearly that someone’s intent is far more important than the actual words.

  10. Q says

    Gays have most DEFINITELY used the word “faggot” as a term of endearment. I have heard it at pride events, bars, screamed at the audience by drag queens (while everybody laughs and cheers), and seen it used in gay magazines to promote parties and in interviews. All in the name of “edgy humor.” And no, they weren’t “drug fucked.” So please cut the bullshit already. Just because YOU haven’t heard it used that way, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  11. Kurt says

    Hmm was what she said stupid? Of course.

    Is she a homophobe because she said it? I don’t know her personally, and I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    Should she be called out on what she said and lose her endorsement deal? I think so. How would people react if instead of saying what she did, she said, “Suck on that, N***ers!”

    Words have meanings. If you’re going to throw them around with wild abandon, expect some fallout.

  12. Christopher says

    Beyond it being derogatory, it’s THE most unsports’person’like behaviour imaginable. Would Libby ever get out of the pool first and say: suck on that, Stef?

  13. Rocky Falco says

    OK Douglas & Q (who every you are) Straight or Gay using the word “FAGGOT” It’s insulting. This is about RESPECT FOR ONES FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.

    If we in the LGBT community do not have respect for ourselves, WE WILL SURELY LOSE ALL THAT WE HAVE GAINED & LOSE THE SUPPORT & RESPECT OF THOSE STRAIGHTS WHO STAND WITH US, AND THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT WILL HAVE PUSHED US BACK IN …THE CLOSET.

    It’s time to “STAND AS ONE”!!

  14. TampaZeke says

    Ok, here’s the deal. We can argue ad nauseam over whether or not it’s OK for gay people to call each other “f*ggot” or “queer” or for black people to call each other “nigga” or “n*gger” but, and LISTEN CLOSELY HERE,

    IT DOES NOOOOOOOOOOT GIVE WHITE PEOPLE OR STRAIGHT PEOPLE A BLANKET RIGHT TO USE THE WORDS WHENEVER AND HOWEVER THEY CHOOSE.

    Let’s put that silly argument to rest already.

    And, regardless if the word “f*ggot” is used as a term of endearment or not, you have to be a complete moron to believe that this woman was using it the context of endearment when she said about a RIVAL SPORTS TEAM that her team had just beaten, “Suck on that f*ggots”.

    Some of you are willing to do Nadia Comaneci level of mental/rhetorical gymnastics to dismiss or justify every homophobic slur ever uttered.

    The fact of the matter is, people who have NO homophobia, NONE, don’t go to the word “f*ggot”, as a word to degrade, humiliate or shame, EVEN IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT. It just never crosses their mind, just as a person who has NO racism never thinks to use the word “n*gger”, EVER. It just doesn’t cross their mind. When someone does go to those words in the heat of anger or passion, there is a reason and that reason is that there actually IS some level of homophobia or racism. They need to acknowledge that and fix it rather than denying it, dismissing it and throwing out a half-assed apology and hoping it will all go away.

    I’ve had this exact same conversation with family members in Mississippi who go for the n-word in the heat of passion but take great offense when you point out their racism. Their offense doesn’t change the fact that they have deep seated racism. Stop denying it, face it and FIX IT!

    I was born and raised in Mississippi. I was MARINATED in racism and, I’m ashamed to say, I used to be racist and use racist language. I honestly didn’t know any different. I faced up to it, admitted to it and FIXED it. Now, it would NEVER, NEVER EVER cross my mind to use a racial slur in ANY context. I have black friends who are self-described “ghetto” who use the term all the time and try to get me to use it. I just WON’T! It’s not going to happen. Strangely enough, I seem to have seen more of the ugly side of this word than they have because they are younger and grew up in Tampa. I think the same point can be made for “f*ggot”. The kids who haven’t been brutalized by the word don’t get the right to declare that the word is OK and has no negative meaning. They just don’t.

    It might be different if it was used 99% or 75% or even 50% as a term of endearment but it’s not. It’s used 99.9% as a slur intended to shame, degrade and demean and .01% as a term of endearment. No one can make the case, not even South Park, that the word has lost its meaning or that it has been claimed from the bigots. That’s a bullshit fantasy.

  15. TampaZeke says

    I’d like for someone here, anyone here, to point me to an example where a person said, “Suck on that assholes. My f*ggots kicked your team’s ass.” when Tweeting about a sports event. Or said, “That was awesome man! You’re one amazing faggot!” to a straight person. Or, “That’s so gay” when referring to a good, impressive or amazing thing that someone has done. Or, “You look gay” to mean “hot”, “cool”, “well put together”.

    For those who say that “gay” and “f*ggot” aren’t negative and have no connection to homosexual anymore, please explain why they are always used in a negative connotation and always refer to a look, action, idea that has traditionally and stereotypically been associated with gay people.

  16. Q says

    Rocky Falco (whoever YOU are), as usual people on here don’t READ what a person says and just jump to conclusions. I was specifically addressing the point of one commenter. I was not defending this woman or anyone else who uses that term, nor would I. So to those of you who have jumped on your soapboxes, you are preaching to choir.

  17. booka says

    I would have to agree with Tampazeke. The negative history of that term is irredeemable; Just as the N-word is in the black community. There is always going to be some idiot queen that thinks they are clever by using the F-word, as with the N-word. The unspoken rule in both cases is that someone not Gay, does not get to use that word, in any context. Don’t believe me? Then go to a Black neighbourhood, and get your little white self to say the N-word, I doubt it will go over well. The Gay Community is currently in flux, trying to establish our validity and rights, so I can see where alot of the confusion of terms might come in. Still, until we ALL get on board with the idea that this is a hateful term there is going to be some misguided fool that will try to use it. In my life, the F-word has been nothing but a hurtful slander, and I have suffered from it’s use too much for any young kid, Gay or not, to convince me it’s ever going to be anything but that.

  18. Hass says

    Matthew Mitcham sums up my feelings pretty well. It’s right that Stephanie Rice is called out on this. It’s no use pretending her tweet was OK, because it was not OK. But spare me the sanctimony.

    I’ve been called a f*ggot plenty of times in my life. I know how hurtful it can be. I know someone is being a massive homophobe when they yell out “f*aggots” as I walk down the street hand in hand with another guy. But I’m not going to label someone a homophobe just because they’ve reached for the word when looking for a generic insult. It happens. I think it’s enough to point out to the person that they were being oafish and insensitive. If they apologise I accept it in good faith. I reserve my scorn for the people I KNOW are homophobic bastards.

    Not everyone is thinking “am I going to offend gay people?” when they drop their slur. It’s just not on their radar. Of course they know what f*aggot means (it hasn’t been divorced from its meaning yet) but on many occasions they’re just not thinking about us – I mean really thinking about us. Hopefully this little incident will change that to some degree.

    In the meantime Steph Rice will have my support when she next competes for Australia in the pool. We need to get the message out that what she tweeted wasn’t cool, but we don’t need to judge her and throw her to the wolves in the process. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt – they usually deserve it.

  19. Patrick says

    It’s not ok to use the slur, “faggot,” and people ought to know that by now. It’s also not ok to use the slur, “bitches,” and people ought to know that by now. Show a little respect for your fellow human — and face the consequences when you don’t.

  20. Rob West says

    She chose the word she consciously knew would be hurtful and degrading, there is no excuse.
    She gave power to every school boy and college student to use it. Whether she likes it or not she is (or was) a role model.
    Almost as sad is Matthew Mitcham apologizing for her.

  21. David says

    The context she used it in is explicitly offensive – the phrase ‘suck on that’ communicates contempt and gloating, it is an insult that reaches its climax in whatever word follows.

    Had she said “suck on that, kittens” the message would still have been meant to be deprecatory.

    Further, as a woman, she ought to realize that the phrase ‘suck on that’ expresses the idea that fellatio is degrading, something used to denigrate male sports players by envisioning them in the “feminine” submissive role of fellatrix.

  22. RobbyRob says

    Tampazeke has it exactly right. No one is completely and totally free of prejudice, but I think it takes a fair bit of homophobia (conscious or not) to reflexively go to the f word when excited. And to all those folks who say that there are certain circumstances where it’s okay to toss around the f word or the n word, and that it can mean something different in different contexts, well that’s just bullsh*t. To the extent some individuals try to imbue these words with an alternative meaning, that achieves nothing more than giving homophobes and racists some some cover for causing the same injury as ever, while not accepting any responsibility for it. It’s despicable, and I don’t tolerate anyone calling me the f word in any context, whether they’re straight, gay or asexual. No self-respecting person should.

  23. jamal49 says

    Um, what is an “otter sponsor”?

    As for the “f” word, I put it right up there with other single letter-identified pejoratives. I know of no one, young, old, or in-between, who considers it an “OK” word to use in any situation. It’s an aggressive word. It’s utterance implies hate and potential violence.

    Maybe she was a bit incautious to use it. Maybe some of her best friends are gay. Maybe she is actually just the nicest person in the world.

    It’s time that the use of such a hateful word by anyone comes with consequences.

  24. says

    Let’s get over this: the term “Fagg**” is not acceptable in any circumstances; it is a slur; it is degrading; it is belittling; we should not use that term in any circumstances to each other and we should make it beyond doubt that it cannot be used about us without immediate retaliation.
    No excuses; no explanations; no nasty slurs.

    And no, I don’t care what you have heard in the past……no fucking bag of shit should call me “fagg**” ever.

  25. Q says

    Rocky, what is your point of sharing your FB page? Are you trying to say that using your real name somehow gives you more clout than people who use pseudonyms? Cuz you know that’s bullshit, right? Your snarky “whoever you are” comment was really unnecessary. Just stick to the points and leave the cuntiness at home.
    Also, if you feel the need to preach, then direct your sermon at those who disagree with you, not the choir.

  26. walter says

    Who is Jaguar defending? Their international homosexual customers? Or their south-african macho-rugby-loving-clients that already so sadly lost a match and now even are being associated with sexual defiants?

  27. Michael says

    Q…There are plenty of black people who use the “n” word with each other, but they sure as hell are going to call out white people who use it, as they should. And, while I do hear “faggot” used in the gay community, it’s often attached to mean-spirited barbs and insults. Just because you’ve heard it used affectionately, doesn’t excuse the hate and insult behind the word the other 99.9% of the time it’s used.

  28. Michael says

    @Douglas Cambell…I do agree that intent plays a factor and that Stephanie Rice didn’t mean the same thing that a hateful, homophobe means when he uses the same word. That said, I find it more upsetting that someone who “isn’t a homophobe” and “has many gay friends” would use the word as an insult in a public forum. I heard her apology and almost felt a little empathy for her, but if our “friends” are using this word as she did, without thought, we’re in trouble. She’s going to suffer for this, probably more than she should, but those who make their living in the public eye need to be held accountable for what they say. She represents herself, her country and her sponsors. With that comes quite a bit of responsibility.

    Using the word “faggot”, no matter the intent, is problematic.

  29. Wise Old Man says

    Actually she said nothing wrong. Those do gooders should get a life.

    re; Stephanie Rice’s Remarks after Wallabies Victory over South Africa

    SUCK ON THAT, FAGGOT = A Retort toward a stupid, clumsy, or dull person or persons. Perfectly described by Stephanie about the SA Rugby Team getting beaten. This is a valid definition of her use of slang. Nothing wrong with it at all. Its akin to saying, something like “take that you fools !” with more colourful language and the exuberance of a Grand Champion.

    PROOF BELOW !

    FAGGOT
    A faggot is a kind of meatball. Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK,[1][2] especially the Midlands of England.[3][4][5] It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_(food)

    MEATBALL

    2. Slang A stupid, clumsy, or dull person.
    2. US and Canadian slang a stupid or boring person
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/meatball

    SUCK ON THAT
    http://onlineslangdictionary.com/definition+of/suck+on+that

    a retort.

    Hence my finding that;

    SUCK ON THAT, FAGGOT = A Retort toward a stupid, clumsy, or dull person or persons. Perfectly described by Stephanie about the SA Rugby Team getting beaten. This is a valid definition of her use of slang. Nothing wrong with it at all. Its akin to saying, something like “take that you fools !” with more colourful language and the exuberance of a Grand Champion.

  30. thomasdisgusted says

    When I was a kid we used to go to Alf’s fish and chip shop in London, Southwark, and buy, “Faggot and Chips!”
    When astounded, we were, “Rooted-to-the-spot!”
    When smoking we, “Had a FAG!!!”
    When happy, we felt, “GAY!!!!”
    When ‘minorities’ take over, the ‘Majority suffers!’

Leave A Reply