Netflix ‘Cheer’ Star Gabi Butler Called Out for Viral Blackface Photo
After a viral photo of Netflix Cheer star Gabi Butler wearing blackface went viral, the competitive cheerleader and new WWE trainee posted a statement to social media that only landed her in even more hot water.
The photo originally went viral after being posted by @cheerfessions1 on Twitter, an anonymous account that posts about news and updates from the competitive cheerleading world.
"For those actually interested in the truth..." she tweeted with a lengthy note alongside photos and a video of other teammates participating in painting their faces black.
In the note, she wrote that as a rookie on the Navarro College cheer team (the subject of the Netflix docuseries) in 2018, veteran cheerleaders instructed new athletes to dress in all black and paint their faces.
She said all of the teammates complied, "including a few who also happened to be people of color."
"I hope these teammates will stand by me and verify this to be an accurate account of what happened that day," she continued. "I am not racist and would never do something to make fun of anyone nor be hurtful to any person of color."
She then called for "anonymous Twitter accounts" to be held accountable for spreading "gossip, rumors, and falsely characterized posts."
However, Cheer fans were baffled by Butler's inclusion of more evidence of blackface and her call-out of former teammates who are people of color.
One former teammate, La'Darius Marshall, who was a fan-favorite from the docuseries, spoke out online.
In a TikTok video captioned, "I do not lie and won’t lie for friends at all," he described the incident as "hazing" and said that only three other athletes participated in the face paint.
"I was like 'Don't do that s---.' I said that. So I'm confused as to how the f--- everybody was consenting when I know I damn sure said something," he said in the video.
He continued, "Why do you think they coined me as the angry Black man? Because as soon as they started hazing I cussed they ass out."
On Twitter, Marshall added, "When you do the right thing you don’t do it for getting anything back I did it to protect me, my friends at the time, and future kids."
Meanwhile, Butler made the situation worse by adding to her statement that she had "never even heard of blackface" and if she thought the situation "had anything to do with racism" she would have "absolutely refused."
She then replied to a fan and named a Black teammate who seemingly participated in the hazing, to which Marshall quote-tweeted and said, "No, what we won’t do is throw the 'other people of color' under the bus. The rest of the [minorities] spoke out against this, I personally talked to you and said that it was not a good idea. So no we didn’t all feel the same, I forgave you for it but don’t sit on here and LIE."
Many fans overwhelmingly agreed, calling Butler's apology "a lie" and telling her to "be serious."
"Not Gabi Butler doing blackface… I’m not surprised w those dark ass tans she be getting," one person tweeted.