Illustration for article titled Keep It: Simone Biles Rejects USA Gymnastics Birthday Wishes, Calls for Accountability for Sexual Abuse Scandal
Photo: Craig Barritt (Getty Images for SK-II)

For months, Simone Biles has asked USA Gymnastics for one thing: an independent investigation into its handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. So when the USAG attempted to @ the greatest gymnast of all time this weekend, it should have known what her response would be.

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The organization tweeted its greetings to Biles this weekend in celebration of her 23rd birthday. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most decorated gymnast of all time, @simonebiles!” USAG wrote in its tweet. “We know you will only continue to amaze us and make history!”

The organization actually sent the message to the wrong Twitter account, but that didn’t stop Biles from promptly firing back a response calling out the organization for its lack of accountability.

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“How about you amaze me and do the right thing...have an independent investigation,” Biles wrote back.

The investigation Biles is referring to centers on Nassar, a former USAG and Michigan State team doctor, who was found to have sexually abused female gymnasts for decades. The 56-year-old disgraced doctor was sentenced to up to 175 years on a mix of federal and state charges, including seven counts of sexual assault on minors. Biles is one of the gymnasts who says Nassar assaulted her while under his care; fellow Olympian Aly Raisman also accused Nassar of sexual abuse, confronting him while he was on trial in 2018.

Last month, USAG proposed settling lawsuits for their negligence in protecting girl gymnasts for $215 million, the Washington Post reports. In exchange, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USAG CEO Steve Penny, and former U.S. national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi would be shielded from liability. As the Post notes, a congressional subcommittee found both USOPC and USAG “knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes from summer 2015 to September 2016.”

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In the last year, Biles has expressed pain at not being told by USAG that there was an inquiry into Nassar’s behavior in 2015. She and other gymnasts had flagged Nassar’s behavior for the governing committees, but Biles wasn’t told about the investigation until after she returned from the 2016 Olympics.

As the world’s most renowned gymnast gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (her spot on the national team is a given, at this point), Biles has become increasingly vocal about USAG’s and USOPC’s failures to support survivors of Nassar’s abuse.

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“Ugh at the airport,” Biles wrote on Twitter in late February. “Heading to team camp. Still want answers from USAG and USOPC. Wish they BOTH wanted an independent investigation as much as the survivors & I do. Anxiety high. Hard not to think about everything that I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT!!!

“[D]on’t THEY also want to know HOW everything was allowed to happen and WHO let it happen so it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN?” the four-time Olympic gold medalist continued. “Shouldn’t people be held accountable?”

Staff writer, The Root.

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