I just got the SafeSport report that several gymnasts from Everest filed against Ashton. Her hearing is Aug 10-11 and several of her victims, including one who is currently in NCAA, will be part of the panel giving statements about what she did and how it affected them.
This feels so conflicting because as someone who is a victim of Nassar, you want to believe her about everything…but I think this is a good reminder that people are not inherently good people just because they happen to be victims of abuse. I don’t think we can excuse her behavior because she was abused, but I think we can support her as a victim while still disliking what she did to others.
Also, I should mention that the parents who tried to slander her about the alcohol incident are still in the wrong either way. They didn’t say anything about bullying, just about the alcohol, and said she was kicked out for this reason, trying to spread lies about her to get people against her…that wasn’t exactly true but I guess it turns out Ashton isn’t a saint either. A reminder that there are always 1 billion sides to every story, and that those who are hurting sometimes hurt others as well.
I’m talking to one of her victims who is on her way to classics on the phone tonight so hopefully I’ll be able to get more info about what went down. I trust it more coming from a kid who lived it than from a parent who wants revenge or whatever.
Okay, I just got off the phone and got the story. Ashton apparently “bullied, verbally abused, and threatened minors” for years, both as a minor herself and then as an adult. A few girls were highly targeted by her (“she only called my daughter fat but she made those other girls’ lives hell” according to one parent), including one who is now in college and wants to speak at Ashton’s panel hearing on Aug 10-11, but is afraid to come forward publicly. Many of the girls she victimized were 6+ years younger than her and she also bullied a couple of current national team members who may or may not come forward for the hearing.
After years of this behavior, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Ashton rented an Airbnb for her birthday and invited her teammates, some as young as 13, to her party and told them “don’t tell your parents there’s going to be alcohol.” That in itself wasn’t really a bad thing (slash almost every teenager has done this, and the people I talked to kind of laughed at this like “my daughter’s the one who told us all worried and we were like this is a normal kid thing to do”) but some parents were really upset about it with everything else that had gone on, so they decided after this party – where Ashton was technically “putting minors in danger,” their reasoning – to file a SafeSport report against her.
The report was filed in February and Ashton was suspended from the gym during that time and while suspended Ashton thought it was probably best that she leave the gym, so Han called Laurent and asked him to “give her a second chance” because at first Laurent was leery about taking someone who had been suspended by her previous gym (slash we all know Simone runs WCC and is like THE one person who won’t take any of Ashton’s shit, lol).
A former FBI agent was assigned to investigate Ashton’s case, but he doesn’t respond to emails from concerned parents, and though the report “finds her completely at fault,” nothing has been done in response to this. The parents seem to think that USAG is just going to ride it out, because they’ll name a new national team in a month anyway and Ashton won’t be on it with her injury, so this is kind of their “out” but they’re concerned that Ashton will run into their kids at a meet and their kids will feel threatened/upset if they get put in the same rotation or something, and worse, they feel that Ashton is going to begin coaching as her career option and they don’t think she should be in a position of power around minors.
This is all compiled partly from parents, and then also from a few of the children who were bullied and are still very upset about the treatment they faced, one of whom said “she threatened to ruin my life” and then acted on that threat (without getting into details, it was bad). I don’t want to make any judgments personally, so this is literally all them and none of me or my opinion, but as much as I feel for Ashton as a victim of Nassar, I think it’s also important to tell the truth about how she has treated others. It doesn’t take away from her being a victim (and maybe her own victimization is what caused her to lash out against others), but an adult threatening and harrassing minors is a legit crime and she’s lucky parents went to SafeSport and not law enforcement.
I’m sure USAG wants to keep this quiet, but I think I’m going to try to do what I did with Alex Naddour and give them a call just asking for details about the panel hearing…though I’m sure one of the reasons she came forward about Han being “abusive” is so now if USAG suspends her or something, it’ll look like retaliation, which kind of puts USAG in a bind…but SafeSport literally “found her at fault’ and so USAG kind of HAS to do something, though I agree that with the timing of her hearing and nationals, they’re probably just waiting to name a new national team and then act like they were planning on suspending her after the hearing but then she didn’t get named to the team again so they didn’t have to suspend her or something.
Holy shit so is there any truth to what she said about her coach from Everest? Or was that strategically done so when she got suspended it looks like it was in retaliation to her coming forward about abuse rather than because she was actually also a massive bully and abusive herself?
I have heard a lot about Han’s behavior, tbh, so I’m assuming the way he treated her probably impacted the way she treats others. The parents I talked to all love Han and defended him relating to her recent comments to the press, so I was kinda just going along with them and keeping any of my knowledge about him being emotionally abusive to myself so they’d feel comfortable talking to me and didn’t think I was anti-Han or something. There is definitely truth to what Ashton said about her coach, but I think the timing of her coming forward about him was definitely related to her panel hearing so she could get it out there first that she’s a victim…it makes her look better. Like I said, a super complicated situation, and I almost feel bad talking about her negatively knowing she came from an emotionally abusive gym environment and then was also sexually abused…but her own abuse doesn’t make her behavior towards others right. It EXPLAINS her behavior, absolutely…but it doesn’t give her a free pass to threaten and bully children just because she was abused. Though hopefully now that she’s in a new environment, she’s learning how to cope in a healthier way.
Don’t know if this has been posted yet, but here’s Ashton’s statement about being a survivor.
_ashtonlocklear today I had surgery on my knee to FINALLY fix something that has been a problem since I was 7 years old. I’ve had a bad history of dislocating my patella and it has held me back in this sport since as long as I can remember buttttt I’m happy to say that it was a successful surgery & i’m ready to come back BETTER than ever. I’m excited to see what i’m capable of without this problem in the way. #allthewayup#comebackszn ⛽️🚀🔋