Who is Suni Lee's BF Jaylin Smith? Olympic champion racially abused for dating Black man
Taking to TikTok, gold medalist says 'I've received so much hate' after she made her relationship with Smith public in late December
She may be a gold medallist at the Olympics, but it appears even Sunisa Lee can't escape racist trolls. The Olympian revealed on TikTok that she's currently facing quite a bit of backlash after she made her relationship with USC football star Jaylin Smith public on December 26. It appears not everyone is on board with her dating a Black man, even though it's 2022.
We've seen this kind of thing play out before, as racist attacks have become more frequent over the past few years. In November 2021, Asian students were attacked by Black teens on a Philly SEPTA train. Racist trolls also mocked Vice President Kamala Harris after her old tweets on Jussie Smollett resurfaced that same month. Way back in March, Tucker Carlson dubbed former President Barack Obama as a "racial arsonist" for his support of stricter gun laws.
Worryingly, it's not just White on Black racism that shot up, racism across the board has skyrocketed since the Trump presidency. As Lee noted, it appears a lot of the hate she's getting is coming from the Asian community, emblematic of the problem.
Who is Jaylin Smith?
The young football star currently represents 11-time national champions USC Trojans, where he enrolled in 2020. He rose to fame as a junior cornerback, wide receiver, and running back at Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills, Los Angeles. Notably, he's also quite well known for his role in 'Coach Snoop', a Netflix documentary about Snoop Dogg's Snoop Youth Football League.
It was that show that put Smith in the national spotlight, as he overcame the death of his mother to help his side clinch the trophy. "Being exposed to that good stuff helped me out tremendously," he told CBS Sports at the time. His stunning performance also led to offers from nine universities, before he settled on USC. According to reports, Smith lost his mother a few years ago after she was killed in a hit-and-run incident.
It's unclear how and when the freshman met Lee, and when they began dating. They only went public in December 2021 though, when Lee put up several pics on Instagram. Rather than being celebrated though, it appears many are extremely unhappy to see Lee, who is of Laotian descent, date a Black man. She revealed the racist attacks on TikTok, by responding to a video celebrating their love.
'Love is love'
On December 31, 2021, TikToker @alixphom put up a video and captioned it, "I know that Sunisa will be judged by certain eyes in the Hmong Community because her man is Black. LOVE is LOVE, no matter what race or gender you are. Keep doing you QUEEN." Lee responded to that by commenting, "this makes me so happy. I’ve received so much hate they support me when it’s beneficial for them never when it comes to my happiness. thank you!"
The comment was met with an instant outpouring of support for Lee, including from @alixphom. One user said, "the hate isn't warranted," and another commented, "I don't understand why people can't let others love who they want and be happy for them." One person slammed, "The Hmong Community should respect others choices in life." While Lee didn't respond directly to the support, it appears she's grateful for it.