#Lochtegate has been one of the more outrageous stories to come out of Rio during these Olympic games. Last weekend, news broke that 4 American swimmers, including Ryan Lochte, were “robbed at gunpoint,” and it looked like the security issues that were raised before the games had come true. However, since then, this story has become a prime example of white privilege and stupidity.
Video camera footage from the gas station where the supposed incident took place has revealed that the swimmers were not robbed at gun point, but instead trashed the gas station and paid the owner for their damages. This bizarre story has turned out to be a ridiculous lie, and today Lochte issued an apology concerning the incident, but he still didn’t acknowledge that he made the story up.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 19, 2016
The fallout from this incident has been two-fold. This story has stolen the attention away from the other American athletes that are still competing at the games (swimming has been done for a week now), and it looked like it was going to paint the Rio games in a bad light. The Rio police have said repeatedly that they are more concerned with the damage to their image than the actions of the swimmers. These games were already facing a public relations nightmare before they started, with the health and poverty of Rio at the forefront, and this security issue would not have helped.
The other issue this whole story has raised is the privilege a white athlete like Ryan Lochte has in this situation. Apparently one of the swimmers got locked in the bathroom, so his teammates broke the down door to get him out. There are also reports saying that the swimmers peed on the walls of the gas station. And after getting into an altercation with the security guard, Lochte was the one claiming he had been wronged, and the media believed him.
It’s safe to say that Lochte not only took advantage of Rio’s reputation for violence, but he also utilized his white privilege in trying to blame the gas station for the incident. In the aftermath, a representative from the IOC said that “these kids came here to have fun. Let’s give these kids a break.” Lochte is 32 and certainly not a kid.
The reaction on Twitter to this whole story has focused mainly on Lochte’s behavior, and how a white athlete like him can get away with something like this with little to no consequences.
white privilege is going to a foreign country, peeing on a business's floor & kicking in a door, & then saying YOU were robbed #LochteGate
— Gabe Bergado (@gabebergado) August 18, 2016
Gabby Douglas was destroyed for hand placement. He pisses on a business and blames a country, and people are making excuses. #LochteGate
— Anthony Dominic (@tmzanthony) August 18, 2016