Friday 31 August 2012

The Gabby/Oprah/Excalibur disaster

What a mess. Oprah got her memorable interview by leading Gabby into a sob story. Of course, Gabby may well have been isolated and/or bullied and it may have been racially motivated. Unfortunately, Gabby also stated that she was the only African-American in the gym, which has since been proven to be false. This to me casts doubts on the rest of her story. Regardless of whether it is true or not, it has no place in the media. A good story for Oprah is a disaster for Gabby. Of course she will still get lots of lucrative endorsements etc. but this is tarnishing her name, as is the story about her dad. In order to really capitalise on her fame, positivity was needed. Instead, it is negative story after negative story and it is going to end up that she won't have the lasting power to stay the game. Interesting that her agent also represents Shawn Johnson- the queen of American gymnastics, the girl-next-door sweetheart who is STILL going strong and who people think actually won the all-around in 2008. Positivity wins. Negativity could well drag Gabby down and it is just taking attention away from what she actually DID do in London.

And what of Excalibur? I did not like the mud slinging article they put their name to which appeared about six months ago. It was in really bad taste and some of their reaction now is as well. What they need to do is acknowledge their part in honing Gabby into the gymnast she is, acknowledge that she may have been bullied during her time there- but congratulate her success and move on. They do of course have every right to defend themselves- but former Excalibur gymnasts are doing that very well all by themselves. The gym is the business and they need to gloss over it, publicly. Privately of course they should pursue the Douglas family the money they are owed. It is sickening that after all they did for Gabby- paying her fees, paying for her meets, keeping her overnight, driving her to the gym etc. etc. that they go unpaid for it all and are then blasted as being not good enough as a gym and as a breeding ground for bullying. It's incredibly damaging for them, but they really needed to take the classy route in the media, and then reclaim their money privately. Instead, it's a huge mess with blame on all sides. Although it is very likely that this will negatively affect Gabby's ability to remain at the top of her game fame-wise, it would be great if it all blew over and her and her agent would think twice over the image they are portraying in future.

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