McKayla Maroney returns from social media silence hiatus to deliver a message

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
McKayla Maroney arrives at Tiger Beat’s Pre-Party Around Fox’s Teen Choice Awards at Hyde Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails in July 2016. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

McKayla Maroney is smiling today — and she hopes you are too.

The retired gymnast turned singer returned to social media for the first time since she went public in October to reveal that she was one of sports physician Larry Nassar’s many victims. On Wednesday, the 22-year-old posted two tweets to let her 575,000 followers know that she’s doing OK.

Maroney, whose “not impressed” look while competing with the Fierce Five in the 2012 Olympic Games made her even more of a pop culture star, first shared a quote urging her fans to do what’s best for them.

The second post shortly after was a video. Maroney, sporting red lipstick, flashed a smile — and wrote that she hoped her fans were also cheesing it up today.

Most of the comments were just people welcoming her back after her four-month hiatus.

Maroney, who announced her retirement in 2016, has been pursuing a music career and enjoying life as a real person — not a media-dubbed America’s sweetheart. She released a single titled “Ghost” that year, and last year appeared in a music video for Wade Hampton.

However, following the exposés on Harvey Weinstein in October, which led to scores of women accusing the Hollywood producer of sexual misconduct, Maroney bravely shared her own #MeToo story on Twitter because “people should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood.” The gold medalist alleged that she was molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Nassar — starting when she was 13 and lasting until she left the sport at 20 — making her the most prominent athlete to go public with her claims against the physician, who victimized some 130 women under the guise of providing medical treatment. Other members of the Fierce Five — Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas — came forward soon after, and so did fellow Olympian Simone Biles.

Because Maroney received a $1.25 million settlement in 2016 from USA Gymnastics after the organization learned of Nassar’s actions, she was prohibited to speak about the abuse. Celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Kristen Bell stepped forward to pay any fine she would incur. USA Gymnastics later said she wouldn’t be fined.

Maroney didn’t end up speaking at Nassar’s January sentencing though. Instead, she let a victim impact statement do the talking for her. The statement was first used in court in December when Nassar was convicted of child pornography and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The letter was then read in court in January when the disgraced doc was sentenced to up to 175 years for sexual abuse.

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