Swimmer hits back at influencer Joey Swoll over 'bullying' gym video

Swimmer hits back at influencer Joey Swoll over 'bullying' gym video
LION Lunch Hour: Gym etiquette tips

A professional swimmer has defended herself against fitness influencer Joey Swoll after he publicly called her out over a video she filmed at the gym.

Nika Godun, 26, a Russian record-holder, refuted Swoll’s claim that she’d been “making fun of a young kid” in a clip she posted to social media.

The video, shot from Godun’s point of view, shows an adolescent boy raising a dumbbell with one knee on a bench, while her voice is heard laughing in the background.

Swoll made a stitch of the scene, in which he urged the female athlete to “do better”.

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Beginning his commentary, he lambasted the 26-year-old for her “arrogant laugh,” insisting that a person like her would have had “two options” in that situation.

“You can politely approach him and ask him if he'd like some help, then teach the young man – show him what good form is – or you can mind your own business,” the popular TikTok star said.

“Filming him to make fun of him to post on social media is never an option, and you are a professional athlete, you should know better.”

He went on to identify Godun by flashing a screen grab of her Instagram page, then admitted that he’d sent her a direct message to ask “if you think that you're better than people and you can do as you please because you're a professional athlete”.

Her response, according to a screen grab of their conversation, was to tell him to “lighten up”.

Professional Athlete Makes Fun Young Kid at the Gym Who's Trying his Best | DO BETTER!

However, Godun clearly had more to say about the matter, and she did so via a lengthy statement.

Writing on Instagram, she offered some context around the encounter, saying: “I know the kid and he’s the funniest guy ever, not giving a f*** when his coach is not looking.

“He didn’t need any of my help because he’s in the swimming group with other kids and a coach and he knows how to do the exercise properly.

“He’s not disabled or sick, he’s just a KID!!”

She continued: “I posted a video with [the] caption ‘me on a Monday morning’ saying that I’m like this kid because I adore his ‘I’m tired and I don’t give a f***’ energy and even in the video itself I’m saying ‘I love him’.”

She went on to condemn the backlash she’d received over Swoll’s coverage of her video, accusing the influencer of “threatening” her to delete it before posting it himself.

“If he truly had good intentions and thought I did something wrong he would’ve excluded the video so no one [would] see it,” she added.

Wrapping up her message, she went on: “I don’t [owe] an apology to anyone because I didn’t do anything wrong [...] the kid is happy, I’m happy, if you’re not happy write a comment, but I don’t think anyone cares.”

She continued: “People over-exceed the importance of social media in their [lives], it doesn’t matter that much.”

Then, reiterating the point she made to Swoll, she concluded: “LIGHTEN UP! Because life is about being happy and not taking yourself too seriously.”

His fans were clearly not impressed by her justification, however, with one writing: “[The] saddest part is you won’t even acknowledge your mistake.”

Another added: “Your responses have only made it worse and show how arrogant of a person you are.

“Who knows if you really do know the kid on a personal level or if anything you’re saying in regards to him is true, but you STILL are missing the point! He is a CHILD. A child you posted on [social media] to get likes and laughs out of.

“I wouldn’t be thrilled if a ‘professional athlete’ used a video of my child’s incorrect form for laughs.”

It’s not the first time one of Swoll’s videos has seen a woman subjected to torrents of criticism and abuse.

The hatred one TikToker received after he criticised a video she'd shared left her fearing for her family’s safety, while others have had to issue public apologies or delete their social media accounts to avoid further harassment.

We agree with Swoll that it’s never right to bully others, and certainly not to humiliate children. But is it right to throw people to the sharks over videos you’ve taken totally out of context?

There, the jury is clearly still out.

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