empathy deficit fox news misogynoir misogyny sexual abuse

Laura Ingraham guest chastizes Simone Biles for not “working through” her sex abuse trauma before competing in the Olympics

Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo 

Are Fox News hosts or guests human? It’s something I found myself wondering, and not for the first time, while watching a recent clip from Laura Ingraham’s terrible show in which she and guest Raymond Arroyo mulled over superstar gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to drop out of a number of events at the Olympics because she couldn’t get her head in the game.

Arroyo started off almost reasonably:

Laura, I have a slightly schizophrenic reaction to all of this. Look, on the one hand, I get it. She had a bad performance. She was lost midair in a flip. She probably feared breaking her neck or permanently injuring herself. 

And that’s no hyperbole; continuing on without proper mental focus could easily have caused the sort of catastrophic injury that would have ended her career. You’d think that the legitimate fear of literally breaking her neck or something equally severe would be enough of a justification for her to drop out of whatever events she felt could be a risk to her health.

But then Arroyo went on to bring up the sexual abuse that Biles experienced at the hands of former team doctor and current convicted sex offender Larry Nassar. Arroyo started out seeming sympathetic:

There is also the traumatic sex abuse that she endured at the hands of that evil Dr. Nassar.

Then he takes a turn for the worse:

But the time to work through all of that was before the Olympic trials, not during the Olympic Games. You’re part of a team now. And if you can physically perform, your job is to get into that headspace where you can overcome your fears and your jitters, and stick the landing.

Fuck you, Raymond Arroyo, you smug condescending piece of shit.

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

H/T — Thanks to for covering this segment from Fox News’ The Ingraham’s Angle.

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42 replies on “Laura Ingraham guest chastizes Simone Biles for not “working through” her sex abuse trauma before competing in the Olympics”


Telling a patient – any patient – that they can get over [fillintheblank] if they just try harder? It doesn’t WORK that way.

Not to mention, where the bloody hell did they get the idea that her past history of being abused contributed to her case of the twisties?

Drowning these people in sewage would ensure that the shit stayed INSIDE them for once.

We really shouldn’t be surprised that Fox News contributors think “I am at risk of performing this task poorly in a way that could cause harm” is not a valid reason to decline to do something.

No. The ‘time to work through all of that’ is whenever, and if, Simone Biles feels able to work through it – and in whatever way she and her support team/therapist (if she has one, and I certainly hope she does and it’s rock solid) deem helpful to her. NOT on anyone else’s idea of a convenient-for-everyone-else schedule. NOT with calculated boundaries and limits. And certainly not on the prescription of of a pair of television chatterboxes-cum-culture critics.

This kind of exploitative concern trolling, resifting through someone else’s trauma for ‘explanations’ of why they don’t do what someone else wants them to do, is also abuse. Raymond Arroyo, whoever the hell he is, needs to STFU and stop being proprietary about anyone else’s life, pain, and decisions. Biles doesn’t owe him, or any of the public hungering after her performances, a damned thing. And as @Victorious Parasol points out, presuming that her recent performance difficulties are linked to past abuse is a profoundly flawed premise. Biles’ decisions about her body and mind, the limits of what she will risk putting them through, are hers to make every single moment, whether she’s got a case of the twisties or has been abused in the past or simply feels like shit. She’s an autonomous human being, not the public’s wind-up doll placed on stage merely to amaze us.

Oh? So a little therapy fixes things like sexual abuse and stuff in a week or something? I need me some of that shit. *rolls eyes so hard I’m looking at the inside of my skull*

Funny how the right wing pundits aren’t going after what’s his face, the white male tennis player who threw his racket, stormed off the court and quit. At least Simone stayed on the floor and cheered everyone (not just her fellow Americans) on.

Anyway, if there’s anyone who still thinks it’s weak to not do gymnastics your instincts are telling you isn’t safe, go Google Elena Mukhina, the Soviet Gymnast who was coerced to do a skill on floor she didn’t feel safe doing while recovering from an injury. She broke her neck, which is exactly what she feared and predicted, and while she survived it in the short term, she died young from complications of that injury.

You’re supposed to deny everything and go in for substance abuse, that’s the proper repressed fascist way of coping!

Simone Biles is the BEST GYMNAST IN THE WORLD. She has 36 medals, four gymnastic skills named after her, and has performed with kidney stones and broken toes. Her critics, not so much. I doubt this smug asshole could even do a cartwheel, let alone qualify for the Olympics. Sometimes I wonder if her Biles’s critics wanted to see her injure or kill herself by performing when her head wasn’t in the game. That’s how they sound sometimes.

This is the absolute epitome of the Dunning-Kruger effect of going: “I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about, but I’m going to say it anyways and expect people to agree with me!” What a fucking dumb as a fence post take.

You don’t work through sex abuse trauma assholes, you just learn to live with it and sometimes it still creeps up on you and makes you cry.

Only sort of on topic, Laura Ingraham also had Alan Dershowitz on recently. The topic was basically “Biden and his goons are being really mean by trying to force people to get vaccinated”. The Dersh claimed that Covid is worse that smallpox, and that he has a right to take a plane with only vaccinated people on board. Laura was basically like, I wasn’t expecting that, WTF is wrong with you. Then they argued over each other for a bit before Laura cut off his video feed.

For those unfamiliar, Dershowitz was one of those “respectable” people who was pretty consistently wrong about everything, but lost that (rather superficial) respectability once people found he had connections to Jeffrey Epstein.

And if you can physically perform, your job is to get into that headspace where you can overcome your fears and your jitters, and stick the landing.

Your ‘headspace’ is a part of being able to physically perform, you cretin.

She probably feared breaking her neck or permanently injuring herself.

But that fear, based upon the fact that she couldn’t locate her body in space while performing, is but a trivial matter to Raymond Arroyo, a big cheese for the Eternal Word Television Network, which features round-the-clock Roman Catholic programming.

Biles’s “twisties” may or may not have anything to do with the abuse, but my best guess is that like bereavement, the pain from abuse bursts out at irregular times, and often spectacularly inconvenient ones. Certainly not to a schedule chosen by a Faux News pundit.

“Are Fox News hosts or guests human?”

Evidently not. It is lucky for them though that the consequences for fucking up don’t include broken bones or even possibly death, otherwise there wouldn’t be a Fox News anymore by now.

More generell because that is stuff that people should get:
Trauma is generell somethink that is hard to overcome. Learning to live with it, to function is somethink the only success posible.
Here Simone Biles did realise she had a problem during Olympia (as far as I know). The problem is dangerous enough that it dropping out shouldn’t have been a controversal act. It was the responsible way. From what I know Olympia is a highlight for many athlets, but that danger is not worth it.Unfortanatly we can’t choose when we get problems. We have to deal with them, when they happen.

@Mexican Hot Chocolate: I thought about that, too – that Biles’ critics would have loved to see her injure herself, or worse. And, had that happened, they would’ve been all “Why did she choose to compete? Why didn’t she take time off and deal with her issues?”


I had a reply about how we treat trauma and emotional hurt, but all of that’s been blendered into a rage-froth as I’ve written it. So, yeah. No. This suited bollard is babbling about how an olympic athlete should ‘lete as if he’s a fucking cross-armed customer complaining to the manager. No thought in his empty dome, the words are just the whistling of wind rushing past his gaping cranium. Exactly the same as so many dudes out there, feeling like he’s got the place to opine on things he knows nothing about and openly denigrates.

David said it best (as you always do, David): Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

I notice that no one is mentioning that the judges had been handicapping the points they gave her. They admitted it. Shaving off points. The excuse was that she was so good that they were afraid someone trying to copy her would get hurt. They made it clear they would continue to do it. She didn’t want her teammates to suffer because of this. Not saying that was the only reason, but it was part of it.

Imagine working the way that woman has worked and when you get to the Olympics the fucking judges openly cheat you. Think that might cause some emotional distress?

Simone is exceptional, of course. But a part of what makes her exceptional is that she is a grown-ass woman and not a 14 year old girl. She has the muscles of an adult woman. She’s trained those muscles to a peak of performance that no one has achieved before. Certainly not those little girls (no fault to them, they haven’t finished growing up yet).

Imagine if they let those little girls grow up before they can do the whole world-class athlete thing. Spend those years honing your skills, participating in age-ranked competition. If they did that, some of those little girls could have a bit of an actual life while training. You know, just a tiny bit.

All world-class athletes have to give up some parts of “normal” life to get to that level. Most of them don’t have to make the decision to do that before they are 10 years old. Only women’s gymnastics. I wonder why that is?

This is how mean-spirited people enjoy the olympics, through complaining and belittling. If bitterness and jealousy were olympic events, they could compete.


We really shouldn’t be surprised that Fox News contributors think “I am at risk of performing this task poorly in a way that could cause harm” is not a valid reason to decline to do something.

Well, they’re constantly performing their own jobs poorly and in a way that regularly causes harm, so…. it checks out.

Not like a Fox News “personality” would know anything about being the best in the world, or bowing out gracefully when you know you’re in over your head.


This is how mean-spirited people enjoy the olympics, through complaining and belittling. If bitterness and jealousy were olympic events, they could compete.

I presume the commentators would be Statler and Waldorf?

@Mexican Hot Chocolate

Simone Biles is the BEST GYMNAST IN THE WORLD.

If I understand it correctly, she’s actually even more than that—it sounds like she is the best gymnast who has ever lived (so far, at least).

I find just about all competitive gymnastics superhuman to the point of incomprehensibility; I will go right out there and say that not only can I not perform a cartwheel, I can’t effortlessly touch my toes (and I feel sure that Tucker Carlson and his other right wing windbag middle aged man friends are at least as unfit as I am). But do all reigning world champions increase the global difficulty level of the sport the way she has? I didn’t know that, if so. I also have no problem admitting that I am profoundly unqualified to evaluate what she does other than to be astounded by it when she’s on.

Unfortunately, Simone Biles is just the outrage du jour for these ghouls. Unlike with Mr. Potato Head and some unfortunate Dr. Seuss characters, their vitriol is harming an actual person this time. I hope Simone is able to let this nonsense roll off her back and concentrate on her supporters and well-wishers.

The first thing that struck me was how cruel this sounded. The second thing, how wrong – factually. That “part of a team” crap makes no sense, since she was thinking of her team as well as herself.

OT, but I was watching some hurdles and running races and one thing I thought was a bit unfair is that false starts are completely disqualified – as in, you’re not allowed to compete if you start slightly before you should. Given that this is most likely accidental, I think runners should be given a warning and one more chance. But I don’t know what’s normal for these sports.

This whole Olympics has been strange:

  • Athletes getting the yips. It’s not just Biles. There’s been a few world-class competitors absent due to injuries or other reasons who were expected to compete, in many events; and see below.
  • All those false starts in the running events. Doesn’t help they punish each one as harshly as if it were an intentional attempt at cheating, when it almost certainly isn’t. Someone said the much lower than normal crowd noises might be the cause, but then why not just pipe fake crowd noise out of a stereo amp over the starting line area? It would require all of $3000 worth of equipment they almost certainly already have lying around the place and five minutes of setup, and the IOC has surely all kinds of archival footage of past Olympics, crowd noises and all, and owns the rights to all of that, so there’s no barrier to obtaining the “content”.
  • A phrase I keep hearing over and over is “rookie mistake”, and obviously nobody in these events can reasonably be described as a “rookie”. Yips suddenly contagious?
  • And that heat and humidity they keep talking about! Shouldn’t that place have a maritime temperate climate, given its coastal location and relatively high latitude? It’s at about the latitude of Raleigh, NC, not Miami …

Of course, the latter might be attributable to global warming. As for the rest … one disturbing thought is that there is something unusual and contagious going around.

What I’ve read about it has made me rather scared of “long COVID”, and I’m wondering if it’s a strictly there-or-not thing or comes in gradations. If some of the athletes had, and recovered from, COVID in 2020, is it possible some have a low level of “long COVID” that isn’t on their radar because it isn’t making them physically more tired than normal, but they are getting a touch of the “brain fog” I’ve heard about?

And there’s that whole Russia thing. In western coverage, the Russian competitors’ name cards all indicate a country of “ROC” instead of the normal “RUS”, and they keep referring to the country’s Olympic committee in lieu of just referring to the country itself, unlike the case with all of the other countries in the games — even Iran, one of the countries perennially on the international naughty list, and China, easily a stronger geopolitical rival, where there’s an ongoing genocide, and whose government’s cack-handed incompetence inflicted the fucking virus on the world.

Sure, the Russian government’s been up to some dirty dealings recently, including inflicting Trump on an unsuspecting populace, but this systematic snubbery doesn’t seem like an effective, or a very mature, way of responding to it. And it’s not like they’re unique. All imperialistic great-power governments do dirty dealings. They are just usually better at doing it deniably, with the exception of the USA, which prefers the Refuge in Audacity trope (backed up, of course, by the world’s largest military daring anyone to raise a fuss about it).

@ surplus

The Russia/ROC thing is related solely to that country’s state sanctioned doping of athletes. The IOC believes that such things are within its jurisdiction and suitable for sanction; but that general geopolitical behaviour isn’t. cf Berlin Olympics etc.

There is though that rather half assed compromise over (Chinese) Taiwan

Taiwan is a half-assed compromise, as I expect its own population would agree. Also Hong Kong. Of course that’s not unique to China. Every imperialistic state has these sorts of small peripheral quasi-autonomous quasi-states with quasi-independence, which usually in practice means “taxation without representation” and being considered part of the imperium for diplomatic and military purposes but as soon as there’s a disaster then they’re on their own.

The US has Puerto Rico; taxed, no representation, and left to fend for itself after Hurricane Maria, though mostly left to administer itself without much interference. America and most of the European (former?) great powers all have miscellaneous Pacific isles; and any of these can become a geopolitical tinderbox. A repeat of the Boer War, the Falklands War, or similarly but with nuclear-armed powers involved would not likely be much fun.

The US gets extra irony points for having started out as such a state itself though.

This pattern is by no means recent. Rome governed its more far-flung conquests in the same way: built roads for the tax man and for the army to follow if he came back unsatisfied, but not much interference in local politics. Maintaining an oppressive occupation is far too expensive at those distances, a lesson the US apparently forgot under W. Bush. His father had it down pat though, as did Bill Clinton in between: punitive raid when they did something wrong and otherwise let them have autonomy as long as the petro-dollars kept flowing into US coffers. No attempt to maintain a boots-on-ground occupation long-term.

Which is not to say that this sort of imperialism is right. H. W. Bush was just more competently evil than his son.

The one variation is whether the imperium claims the colony officially as part of its territory. The US does claim Puerto Rico in this way, but not Iraq. Yet both must pay tribute or suffer the consequences. De facto, they’re both under the yoke of the American imperium.

This predicts exactly what gets punished and what doesn’t. You can gas Kurds inside your borders all you want, but screw with the oil flow by invading Kuwait, or worse try to undermine the whole petro-dollar system, and here come the bombs.

Cynical? Sure, but it also fits all of the observable facts. So does this:

Derek Chauvin was convicted not for lynching a black man — plenty of white cops have done so and gotten away with it — but for giving the billionaires a month of sleepless nights. The lynching was so over the top it sparked such widespread civil unrest that it was not implausible for the unrest to become a revolutionary crown fire and not just a Ferguson-riot ground fire. They live in terror of Marie Antoinette’s fate: gloating and saying “let them eat cake” one day, being hauled in front of a drumhead tribunal the next, and convicted and sentence carried out so fast her head would have spun even had it still been attached.

Both the rich and powerful, and the institution of white supremacy, were brought under genuine threat by Chauvin’s actions. I believe some in his jury voted to convict because he committed cold-blooded murder right in front of a camera, but that most did so because he sparked a backlash strong enough to have white supremacists quaking in their boots. Much of the (weak, and declining) opposition to Trump from within the Republican party and among the superrich undoubtedly stemmed from the same thing: Trump was a loose cannon on deck, geopolitically, for one thing; and he might heat the wealthy-white-male-supremacy water too suddenly and cause the frog to jump.

And on the topic of athletes doping: would someone mind explaining to me why they were testing (and disqualifying) athletes for marijuana, and well in advance of the games? I can see that some performance enhancers, such as artificial testosterone or growth hormone, can be used to bulk up in advance and then stopped just before competition, so testing earlier would be needed to catch such cases, but marijuana is not performance enhancing, and in the short term would be the opposite, I expect, similar to being drunk. There’s no rational reason for them to be testing for it at any time. They also seem overly obsessed with natural testosterone levels and with the runners’ private bits, to judge by all the commentary about which runners are or might be intersex … seems like there are some moralizing busybody pervs on the committees acting far outside their ambit of “make sure there’s a fair, level playing field and that you don’t have to use risky and dangerous stuff like steroids to be competitive”.

Though even there one wonders if there’s a bit of hypocrisy and/or moralizing involved. How risky and dangerous are the training regimes, and the diets? Are athletes having to binge and then starve themselves, or dehydrating themselves just before a weigh-in, to gain an allowed advantage? “Natural” is not equal to “safe”, and “safe” may not be a sensible goal anyway, when the sports themselves are often at least somewhat dangerous … a vault gone wrong can break your neck; playing with water/solute balance and diet can lead to heatstroke or other life-threatening emergencies; steroids have side effects and can make you go sterile; why is the line drawn before that last item and not earlier, or later? Is its placement based on a sensible reason or on “unnatural = bad, natural = good” chauvinism? And if the latter, where should it be drawn?

And that heat and humidity they keep talking about! Shouldn’t that place have a maritime temperate climate, given its coastal location and relatively high latitude? It’s at about the latitude of Raleigh, NC, not Miami …

AFAIK Japan is traditionally quite hot and humid in summer, as is North Carolina. From my perspective, it doesn’t seem remotely optimal for athletic games*. Of course it doesn’t help if summer weather during the games happens to be hotter than average, especially with a new climate change adjusted average.

*that must be held specifically at this time of the year, according to tradition, lest you anger the gods of Olympos.

a) North Carolina has a Gulf Stream just offshore that Japan lacks;
b) Aren’t the Summer Games usually held in August? They started in July this year, which I thought unusual.

There’s a similar current pattern in North Pacific:

Kuroshio Current – Wikipedia

That’s why the eastern coasts of both Eurasia and North America have rather similar climate patterns to each other, and western coasts respectively too. Also similar patterns work in southern hemisphere, though there’s no large continent at temperate latitudes.

I know that “summer” olympics have been sometimes held at a different season, at least in southern hemisphere. However, a couple weeks’ difference in timing hardly matters.

I used to like Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo, but since Trump won the 2016 election, they and many other conservative voices on the radio and TV have become irrational and some quite racist. What all these idiot rants against Simone Biles tells me is they don’t know what the hell the gymnast was going through. Twisties are a real thing.

They always were, and it speaks very poorly of you that you didn’t notice. Also that you were ever a fan of fascist media personalities; that leads me to suppose that you are also a fascist, and I’d like yo invite you to go directly to hell

@Alan Robertshaw:

The Russia/ROC thing is related solely to that country’s state sanctioned doping of athletes. The IOC believes that such things are within its jurisdiction and suitable for sanction.

So their response to that isn’t to a) simply test the athletes from Russia, like those from every other country, and disqualify any who are doped, rendering the whole matter academic; nor b) ban Russia from participating entirely; but instead c) allow Russia’s athletes to compete (and presumably test them and disqualify any who are doped) but refuse to acknowledge Russia’s existence as a country, rather than just part of the name of a committee, and, I guess, require on-site news commentators to do likewise as a condition of access?

That is … bizarre. I mean, it’s basically just solution a) garnished with some gratuitous churlishness. Why not just go with plain solution a) and not look like they’re even worse (and far pettier) douches than Putin’s government?

Garnished with extra churlishness is an excellent description of the IOC. I suspect that’s your answer right there.

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