Donald Trump Jr mocks Gwen Berry for posing with US flag in old photo: 'Totally not an act!'
Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry was mocked online after an old photo of the athlete smiling while holding up the US flag went viral. This was after she courted controversy by turning her back on Old Glory during the Olympic trials. The 31-year-old track and field athlete can be seen in the undated photo posing with a beaming smile as she holds up the US flag. The image was reportedly posted to her website in June 2015. Critics were quick to pounce, accusing Berry of only staging her protest on Saturday, June 26, to raise her profile. Her website has since been taken down.
"Totally not all an act!" Donald Trump Jr tweeted. "She was definitely not protesting to get attention for herself and/or maybe some of those woke Nike sponsorship dollars. 100% legit and not at all a cottage industry victimization scheme we see so much of these days." Meanwhile, Katrina Pierson, a former spokesman for President Donald J Trump, tweeted the viral Gwen Berry photo with a single comment - "Oops!"
Totally not all an act! She was definitely not protesting to get attention for herself and/or maybe some of those woke Nike sponsorship dollars. 100% legit and not at all a cottage industry victimization scheme we see so much of these days. https://t.co/OSjnPDCKTe— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 30, 2021
"This image is directly from Gwen Berry's website. It looks like her entire 'Activist Athlete' bit is an act!" Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of security organization ACT America, added. "Looks like the American flag didn't offend Gwen Berry a few years ago..." author Nick Adams quipped.
This image is directly from Gwen Berry's website.— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) June 30, 2021
It looks like her entire "Activist Athlete" bit is an act! pic.twitter.com/m2bGwhvYPN
Looks like the American flag didn't offend Gwen Berry a few years ago... pic.twitter.com/Wz2aamqDzf— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) June 30, 2021
Berry sparked a major uproar with her on-camera antics on Saturday, June 26, and has since been battling critics on social media. At the Olympic trials in Oregon, the Ferguson, Missouri-born athlete was on the podium when the national anthem started playing. While her competitors, DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen, turned to face the flag and crossed their hearts, Berry turned to face the stands, put her hands on her hips, and showcased a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "activist athlete."
She later said in interviews that she felt officials played the anthem to "set her up" and that she was under the impression it would be played before the athletes walked onto the podium. Organizers, however, maintained that the anthem was played every day of the trials at the same time.
Berry drew criticism on Sunday, June 27, from conservatives who said her protest was rather disrespectful. Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, said she ought to be removed from the US Olympic team. "The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It's the entire point. It's one thing when these NBA players do it, OK we'll just stop watching. But now the Olympics Team?" he said in an interview with Fox. Berry responded to the backlash on Instagram, writing, "I said what I said... I meant what I said...STOP PLAYING WITH ME!! PERIOD!"
She also took to Twitter to defend herself. "I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can't. That's why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE," she wrote. "These comments really show that: 1.) people in American rally patriotism over basic morality. 2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax."
These comments really show that:— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) June 28, 2021
1.) people in American rally patriotism over basic morality
2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax
Berry also spoke to the Black News Channel about why she protested. "I never said that I didn't want to go to the Olympic Games, that's why I competed and got third and made the team," she told the outlet on Tuesday, June 29. "I never said that I hated the country. I never said that. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand for or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people. Point blank, period."
Berry said she specifically had a problem with a line in The Star-Spangled Banner, which she believes alludes to beating runaway slaves. The controversial line in the poem's third verse reads: 'Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution/ No refuge could save the hireling and slave/ From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave' - possibly referring to escaped slaves who helped the British in their Chesapeake campaign. However, there is no absolute historical evidence to support Berry's claims. Whether the line is actually racist still remains of point of discussion even now.
"If you know your history, you know the full song of the national anthem, the third paragraph speaks to slaves in America, our blood being slain... all over the floor," Berry said about why she thinks the national anthem is racist. "It's disrespectful and it does not speak for Black Americans. It's obvious. There's no question."