SNL star Michael Che faces backlash after posting Simone Biles jokes
The "Weekend Update" co-anchor is under fire for reposting a joke about Larry Nassar, the doctor accused of sexually abusing Biles and countless other athletes.
Michael Che is facing backlash after posting an Instagram story in which he said he wanted to poke fun at four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and then sharing the responses, which included a joke about former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
In a series of now-deleted stories, the Saturday Night Live actor and "Weekend Update" co-anchor wrote, "I got 3 min of Simone Biles jokes in my head. Im going to the cellar tonight to say them into a microphone. As the dorky kids say I'm choosing violence."
News and gossip site BallerAlert captured screenshots of Che including select responses to his story and posted them to Twitter. One of those jokes referred to Nassar, who was accused of sexually abusing Biles and countless other athletes and sentenced to prison in 2018.
"Larry Nassar understands Simone Biles better than anyone. He too had to quit doing what he loved at the pinnacle of his career because of mounting pressure," quipped the user who made the joke, which Che admitted was "absolutely tasteless" while also rating it a "9/10."
Che's remarks incited dozens of tweets that blasted him for his behavior, leading him to delete his posts and claim, perhaps jokingly, that someone must have hacked into his Instagram account.
"Can't believe they got me. Yall know i only do jokes about whites and cops. S'all good now i changed my password and everything," he wrote.
Sexual assault/abuse survivors are not the butt of jokes. Ever," tweeted political commentator Ameshia Cross. "Be mindful #SimoneBiles sexual abuse occurred for years beginning in her childhood. #MichaelChe is a jerk for even touching the issue in this manner. And he's a damn fool for coming back saying he was hacked."
Earlier this week, Biles abruptly withdrew from the first round of the team gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics, citing a medical issue. She later withdrew from the all-around gymnastics competition, revealing that she made the choice to step back in order to focus on her mental health.
"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being," the USA Gymnastics organization said in a statement confirming Biles' withdrawal. "Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."
Team USA won the silver medal in the all-around competition after Biles pulled out.
A representative for Che did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.