Even feminist icons can have some issues in their past. Megan Rapinoe, who rose to prominence thanks to her dominance as a member of Team USA during the 2018 Women's Soccer World Cup, is now facing calls for cancellation after a decade-old tweet of hers was unearthed. The tweet, which may have felt harmless to Megan when she first wrote it, has now come under harsh criticism from fans.
Why is Megan Rapinoe canceled?
Megan Rapinoe is facing calls for cancellation because of a 2011 tweet directed at fellow soccer player Natasha Kai, who is Asian. In the tweet, which is still up, Megan wrote "u look Asian with those closed eyes!"
Megan was responding to a tweet which has since been deleted, but the response has caused plenty of controversy, especially in light of Megan's public advocacy.
Although Megan has more than proved her skill on the soccer pitch, there are some who saw this tweet as hypocritical given how outspoken she's been about social justice. Megan is one of America's highest profile LGBTQ+ athletes, and her Twitter profile picture is the Black Lives Matter logo. As one Twitter user put it, it seems like "so many extremely woke people turn out to have been bigoted in the past.”
The argument continues by claiming that racism used to be the best way to bully others online, but now political censorship is the best tactic. Some also called Megan's comment racist and demanded that she be canceled.
There were also attempts to sabotage some of Megan's most lucrative sponsorship deals. She recently appeared in a Subway commercial, and also just signed a lucrative deal with Victoria's Secret.
“I guess @SUBWAY agrees with this racist statement, they hired her and obviously have no problems with her disrespecting the flag and now Asians,” one person observed, “I’m an Asian American and that’s just not even funny.”
“Looks like the new face of Victoria’s Secret, Megan Rapinoe, mocked Asians," another added. "If true, definitely sounds anti-Asian to me. Is this who @VictoriasSecret wants to be associated with? Can’t be that great for its brand.”
Megan has yet to publicly address the controversy.
Although there's been plenty of effort to cancel Megan online, the soccer star has yet to address the controversy herself. She has had her fair share of defenders, though, including some who pointed out how long ago the tweet was.
The tweet certainly has a strong tinge of racial insensitivity, and Megan may soon address or apologize for it.
Ultimately, though, those seeking to cancel her may not be doing so for purely altruistic reasons. This has happened to prominent social justice advocates in the past. Online mobs dig up old tweets and use them to "prove" that the people currently advocating for social reform and more racial sensitivity are in fact hypocrites. While that's certainly possible, it's also possible that views and opinions shift over time, and that Megan may have grown as a person over the past decade.