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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 4x200 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 But Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that his company has withdrawn its sponsorship."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."

 

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Comments

  1. 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:
    [email protected]

    Posted by: Martin Murray | Sep 7, 2010 7:31:13 AM


  2. 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??

    Posted by: Jon Lee Hart | Sep 7, 2010 7:34:57 AM


  3. " We won, we won, oh my God, I am so happy! I think I'll offend the gay community and apologize later. After all, I don't really it." BITCH!

    Posted by: SONNIE | Sep 7, 2010 7:38:22 AM


  4. 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.

    Posted by: sparks | Sep 7, 2010 7:46:32 AM


  5. Her comment was inconsiderate, hurtful and stupid, but not homophobic. They are two very different things. Matthew Mitcham is correct in his statement

    Posted by: Chad | Sep 7, 2010 7:46:49 AM


  6. It's 2010

    We know what words mean, how they can be used and intent

    A excuse really means nothing

    Posted by: deen | Sep 7, 2010 7:57:11 AM


  7. 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.

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | Sep 7, 2010 8:05:59 AM


  8. Matthew, Matthew, Matthew...it's not okay; no matter whose "friend" she is.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Sep 7, 2010 8:06:25 AM


  9. 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.

    Posted by: Tigerama | Sep 7, 2010 8:10:54 AM


  10. Why is it alright for a international sport figure to apologize after they insult a gay person. It's like saying "I'm sorry F*GGOTS"

    Posted by: Rocky Falco | Sep 7, 2010 8:11:55 AM


  11. 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!!

    Posted by: Rocky Falco | Sep 7, 2010 8:29:53 AM


  12. Suck on THAT, hater! (and thanks, Jaguar)

    Posted by: A. Beaverhausen | Sep 7, 2010 8:37:26 AM


  13. As you guys say; every instance of this kind of juvenile slur must be followed and marginalised, otherwise these put-downs gather strength by default.
    Good for Jaguar.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 7, 2010 8:38:39 AM


  14. "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.

    Posted by: aleabeth | Sep 7, 2010 8:56:40 AM


  15. 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".

    Posted by: jason | Sep 7, 2010 9:23:44 AM


  16. 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.

    Posted by: Douglas Campbell | Sep 7, 2010 9:41:29 AM


  17. Well with those hips and that linebacker build I wouldn't be throwing derogatory names at anyone...

    Posted by: mnrocko | Sep 7, 2010 9:47:12 AM


  18. 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.

    Posted by: Q | Sep 7, 2010 9:48:08 AM


  19. that should have read "all in the name of "edgy humor and camaraderie.""

    Posted by: Q | Sep 7, 2010 9:54:41 AM


  20. 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.

    Posted by: Kurt | Sep 7, 2010 10:05:21 AM


  21. DON'T DRINK AND TWEET!!!

    Posted by: MikeInSanJose | Sep 7, 2010 10:08:56 AM


  22. If she had said "Suck on this, n•ggers” we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    Good for Jaguar.

    Posted by: ichabod | Sep 7, 2010 10:10:02 AM


  23. Jaguar made the decision every company should in that situation. It doesn't matter if the person who wrote it meant it or not to be homophobic.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Sep 7, 2010 10:24:13 AM


  24. 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?

    Posted by: Christopher | Sep 7, 2010 10:29:30 AM


  25. 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"!!

    Posted by: Rocky Falco | Sep 7, 2010 10:36:44 AM


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