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The official TikTok account for the Paralympics has defended its content over allegations it is “mocking” disabled athletes.
The organisation was forced to respond after viral clips from its TikTok account made people question the intent behind them.
One clip which has been viewed over 40 million times showed a professional cyclist who rides with the use of only their left leg.
A clip of them riding in a race was shared along with the caption, “LEFT…LEFT…LEFT…” while the song’s lyrics over the top featured the words “left”.
In the comments, some users shared their disbelief that it was the official Paralympic account posting videos that they felt were disrespectful.
One user commented: “My jaw already dropped but SEEING THAT THIS IS FROM THE VERIFIED PARALYMPICS ACCOUNT MADE ME GASP.”
Another added: “Sometimes I wonder what the athletes think about your posts dude.”
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The clip is far from the only one that uses sound over the top of a video of an athlete to “mock” their actions.
On Twitter, one user wrote: “Bit weird that the official Paralympics TikTok has so many videos mocking their own athletes.”
\u201cbit weird that the offical paralympics tiktok has so many videos mocking their own athletes\u201d — yasmin (@yasmin)
The International Paralympic Committee responded to the backlash, confirming that the account has not been hacked.
They told the BBC the TikTok account is run by “a Paralympian who fully understands disability” and who has “created a strong following through edgy and unique content”.
It also conceded that “not everyone” will enjoy the content, but that its aim is to “educate an audience who might be less aware of Paralympic sport and the achievements of our athletes”.
British Paralympic table tennis player Jack Hunter-Spivey believes that the account shows that disabled athletes “can also make jokes as well”.
He said: “We can also make light of our situation and if I fall out my chair in front of my friends and I'm not injured, we would make fun of it and we would laugh.”
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