boycotting Gymnastike

by site editor Rick McCharles

Update:

Joe Battaglia finally apologized.

Better late than never. Thanks Joe. I trust it’s sincere. I’ll wait and see if any additional response is forthcoming from USAG or Flocasts.

___ original post:

I’m going to join the boycott. This site gets 2-3 million unique visitors a year. I believe we send quite a bit of traffic to Gymnastike.org.

This hurts, as I love Gymnastike, the #1 gymnastics video site.

I feel rotten for some of the excellent Gymnastike contributors. I’ve only known founder Anne Phillips to have the highest standards. Several times I pitched interviews with outspoken people and she declined saying she preferred Gymnastike promote the positives of Gymnastics. She does not like controversy. This scandal must be agonizing for her.

Know that @Flocasts is the parent company to Gymnastike. Here’s the Flocasts Team.

Don’t blame Gymnastike people for the wrong decisions of Flocasts. That would be unethical.

I’ve had quibbles over how Gymnastike operates, opting not to sign-up for their Gold paid subscription, but there’s never been an incident like this.
___

During the evening of the September long weekend, when most people were on holiday, Gymnastike posted an article:

Maroney Victim of Nude Photo Leak” (screen shot)

Chavez article with 4chan link

Note that the ad on that page was paid for by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, volunteers who help abused and neglected children. There’s one advertiser that should flee Flocasts.

As a fan site that attracts many young girls, I question the headline. Gymnastike should have rushed to the defense of one of the sports greatest stars, defending her privacy.

Unforgivable, however, was a link to 4chan, a shady online community where (mostly) anonymous people share all kinds of nonsense, legal and illegal, including pornography. 😦

One commenter tells there were no photos of Maroney via that link. I know many others saw 3 photos, real or not. I did not click through myself.

Author of the post, Chris Chavez @Chris_J_Chavez, should have known better. He’s a student, an aspiring sports journalist, specializing in Track & Field.

Certainly Chavez knows not to link to 4chan, especially a page sharing stolen pornography, real and faked.

I decided to boycott after seeing this. It was sent to me anonymously.

image

Looks to me like Chavez was gloating over the thousands of hits his story was getting on Gymnastike. (It did not get nearly that many hits, did it?)

I’m trying to confirm that chavezc is another social media handle for @Chris_J_Chavez. Leave a comment if you know.

Update from @Region5insider (one of the good guys):


Rick that comment that was posted is not from Chris. Someone created the log in and posted the comment. We can tell how long a username as been active on our site and when I saw comment I checked and it was 15 minutes.

That’s good enough for me. I now believe it was not Chris, but rather some quick, humorous imposter questioning the motives for the post.

Still, this is a blog, not a court of law. I believe Chavez posted the article, a listicle in fact, to gain clicks. His post was sleazy at best, illegal at worst.

Chavez did not hit PUBLISH. Perhaps he doesn’t have permission to post himself. It was published by Joe Battaglia, Creative Director of @Flocasts, responsible for a number of sports, including Athletics, Wrestling, Dirt Biking and Gymnastics. Very experienced, without question Battaglia should have known not to link to 4chan.

Perhaps he was the only one working over the long weekend when the scandal broke.

The gymternet went nuts.

Battaglia some time later deleted the porn link, without explanation or apology.

He left the story up. It’s not been removed as yet as I post. (Deleting it may be seen, by Battaglia, as an admission of wrongdoing.)

UPDATE – Flocasts did finally remove the article entirely. 4-days later.

That was his second unforgivable mistake. Battaglia should have deleted the post entirely and instantly apologized for the “mistake“. Flocasts would later have to decide what to do with Chavez and Battaglia for linking to porn in the first place.

Instead, Battaglia doubled down with this tweet the next morning, as the gymternet blew up in protest.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I assumed we’d see an apology Tuesday morning when people got back to work at Flocasts. …

Nothing. 😦

___

That’s it.

Gymnastics Coaching will boycott Gymnastike until Flocasts takes action.

I unliked their Facebook page.

Unfollowed them on twitter.

I’m sending this post to the co-founders of Flocasts:

Martin Floreani @martinoflo | Martin@flocasts.com

Madhu Venkatesan @madhuvenkatesan

Mark Floreani @markflocasts

Also @USAGym. There’s nothing worse for the Federation than to be in any way associated with pornography. Potentially child pornography.

Leslie King, USAG’s Communication director, has stated the organization will revisit whether or not Gymnastike should be invited to future events.

One final word on these stolen photos, try not to blame the victim.

related – Lauren Hopkins – RESPONDING TO CONTROVERSY 101

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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