Olympic gymnast and Team USA member Grace McCallum shocked fans when she seemingly tweeted a derogatory racial slur on Tuesday, August 10. The athlete claimed she had been hacked and has now regained access to her account — but what do we know about the incident? Keep scrolling for details.
Following the 18-year-old’s bombshell tweet — which has since been deleted — her mother, Sandy McCallum, took to her own Twitter account to defend her daughter. “Grace’s Twitter account has been hacked,” she wrote at the time. “We just found out and are working on getting her account back.”
On Wednesday, August 11, the Minnesota native returned to the social media platform to issue an apology following the hack. “Hi guys! I got my account back and I would just like to personally apologize to anyone this may have affected,” Grace wrote. “It is something I would never say and I’m extremely saddened that this was displayed on my account.” She turned off the comments for this particular tweet.
The response from fans and followers was very mixed, as some users were skeptical of the Olympian’s original intentions. However, others rushed to her defense. “Just here to remind y’all that after Rio 2016 someone hacked Simone Biles‘ MEDICAL RECORDS and leaked them to insinuate that she was cheating (she wasn’t),” one fan noted. “So, if you really think someone wouldn’t hack a different newly famous Olympic athletes SM to try to ruin them, you’re delusional.”
Some social media users made it a point to mention that, along with the tweet of the slur, Grace also deleted a previous tweet from Tokyo featuring Simone, teammate Jordan Chiles and another woman, who appeared to be white. Alongside the photo of the three women, the University of Utah student used three monkey emojis, seemingly in an effort to replicate the 17th-century Japanese proverb “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.”
Several users noted her decision to delete that tweet made it harder to believe that she was hacked, given the racial connotations of using monkey emojis to represent Black people. However, Grace has yet to address those claims.