Ex-UCLA gymnastics star Katelyn Ohashi faces backlash for Halloween costume

Ex-UCLA gymnastics star Katelyn Ohashi faces backlash for Halloween costumeEx-UCLA gymnastics star Katelyn Ohashi faces backlash for Halloween costume
via @katelyn_ohashi
Michelle De Pacina
November 2, 2023
Former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi and her friend are being criticized online for dressing up as famous ex-couple Amber Heard and Johnny Depp for Halloween.
The Halloween costume: In the now-viral photos of the pair, the 26-year-old retired gymnast can be seen dressed up as Mera, the fictional superhero from the DC Extended Universe portrayed by Heard in “Aquaman.” Standing next to her is a man dressed as Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series, a role iconically portrayed by Depp
The pair shared several photos of their costumes on Ohashi’s Instagram story. In one photo, the man stands behind Ohashi, and the accompanying caption read, “Rumor has it that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were seen together.” In the next photo, Ohashi had her hands playfully placed around her partner’s throat, with the caption “nvm,” an abbreviation for “nevermind.” 
The reference: Ohashi’s Halloween costume refers to the highly publicized and controversial divorce of Heard and Depp last year, where Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse. However, the jury later ruled that Heard’s op-ed references to sexual violence and domestic abuse were false and defamed Depp with actual malice.
The livestreamed trial attracted public attention and numerous social media discussions. The majority of social media users were sympathetic to Depp and critical of Heard, igniting debates regarding topics relating to domestic violence, the #MeToo movement and women’s rights.
Backlash: While some fans found Ohashi’s costume humorous and harmless, many criticized her on Reddit, stating that domestic violence is not a subject to make light of and noting that she should have known better after studying gender studies in college. Social media users also pointed out that she is known for calling out and addressing the abuse that athletes face. 
“It’s unfortunate, because she’s been one of the more consistent athletes calling out abuse in the sport, and this shows how little she’s actually thought about the subject beyond her immediate experiences,” one person wrote. “She literally majored in gender studies in college! Like, there’s no way in hell she doesn’t know better than this!”
“Oh no, this is so disappointing,” another commented. “As pointed out elsewhere, whichever side you are on, whoever you believe, this costume is making fun of [domestic violence].”
Social media users also took to Instagram and X to call out the former gymnast. 
“You are so wrong for that costume and you know it,” one wrote under her most recent IG post. “I can’t help but think how your fellow gymnasts who were abused feel right now.”
“It’s Halloween 2023 & we’re still doing this? Domestic violence victims are not a costume ffs,” an X user tweeted
Ohashi has not responded to the backlash. 
About Ohashi: Ohashi, known for her viral perfect 10 gymnastics routine, started her journey in gymnastics at age 3 before going elite at age 12.
However, her gymnastics journey was marred by injuries and the stress of elite competition. She became a voice for athletes’ body image struggles, opening up about the eating disorders that some gymnasts face. She fostered open communication to prevent abuse of power, especially in light of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, which were first reported in September 2016.  
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