Ryan Lochte

White Privilege Runs Deep In The Morally Shallow Waters Of #LochteGate

Are we really surprised here? 

American Olympic swimmer and occasional reality star Ryan Lochte has been named the ringleader behind a fabricated story of a robbery that never occurred during a night out in Rio de Janeiro. The incident has been dubbed #LochteGate, or in some circles, #LochteMess. Either way, the very tangled story has revealed what we already know about white privilege and the lingering problems the nation faces among other countries.

The incident happened last weekend (Aug. 14) when Lochte claimed he and fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, James Feigen, and Jack Conger were robbed by men disguised as police officers after leaving a bar in a taxi. Quick, but ignorant instincts lead many to believe Lochte, who sent out an Instagram message to fans (and a text to his mother) shortly after it was reported by the media outlets. After all, a few click-bait headlines about the continuous issues in Rio before the Olympic games gave the athlete's story a piece of credibility. Even Lochte's reported quote of saying "whatever" during an interview with celebrity journalist Billy Bush  as the robber held a gun to his head was quickly overlooked.

Thanks to the power of CCTV, the much-sympathetic story was decimated after it was revealed the swimmers vandalized a gas station. An armed security guard reportedly approached them after the swimmers broke a door trying to get into the bathroom. During a press conference, Brazilian police admit that the swimmers paid money to the store's manager before they took off. While the incident was simple and non-life threatening, their alleged frightening experience made Rio's reputation worse.

Other athletes in Rio such as Carmelo Anthony have treated the city as their hometowns, opening up a conversation about respect when it comes to diving into unknown waters. The NBA star even used his day off to play ball with kids in the city's favelas

The good deed barely saw the top of a news site "must-read" list, but Gabby Douglas' standing salute during the US national anthem caused thinned hairs to be ripped out of the heads of critics. The International Olympic Committee did little to defend Douglas but came to the defense of Lochte and his morally corrupt crew by calling the 20 and 30-somethings as "kids" who made a mistake.

It's not hard to see the privilege that reigns supreme over the black and brown people of Rio. Brian Winter, vice president for policy at Americas Society and Council of the Americas, tells NY Times the incident is bigger than a broken bathroom door. “This incident has caused so much damage to Rio’s brand abroad that I think Brazilians deserve a clear, consistent account of what happened,” Winter said. "The entire episode has tapped into one of Brazilians’ biggest pet peeves — gringos who treat their country like a third-rate spring break destination where you can lie to the cops and get away with it.”

As police seek to indict Lochte and the other swimmers for falsely reporting a crime, #LochteGate kicked off on social media and didn't stop there. Stephen A. Smith slammed Lochte for lying about a drunken night out. "You went to the Olympics to represent your country," Smith said via Complex. "You're representing your country, you're supposed to be as upstanding as you are. To fabricate a story to cover yourself, it probably ended up being way bigger than you imagined, but you still look like a damn liar, and you have now embarrassed yourself, and that's unfortunate."

Yes, the incident is unfortunate, but as the smoke continues to clear out, new clouds form since it's painfully clear America--as a whole-- will now have to deal with the repercussions. Leaving his homies in Rio to cover up the crime, Lochte was seen just days later on Instagram making birthday videos without much care in the world.

It's a move we've seen from other celebrities who don't take responsibility for their actions until the social media taunts and memes are just too much to take. Bentz and Conger were free to leave Brazil Thursday evening. When asked if they will apologize for lying, then men remained quiet.

Lochte may or may not do the same, but only time will tell how far his privilege will take him.

From the Web

More on Vibe

David McNew

Kerry Lathan, Man Injured In Nipsey Hussle Shooting, To Be Released From Jail

Kerry Lathan, a man recently jailed for violating his parole who was wounded during Nipsey Hussle’s shooting, is set to be released from jail, KTLA reports. The 56-year-old was arrested at his halfway house for allegedly associating with a “known” gang member.

Lathan, Hussle's friend, was receiving clothes at The Marathon Store where the fatal shooting took place on March 31. Because of Hussle's Rollin 60s Crips affiliation, authorities arrested Lathan and placed him in the Men’s Central Jail for violating his parole.

Before this occurrence, Lathan was released from prison after serving 25 years. “I’m in a wheelchair, but now they’re trying to send me back for life for just being there. Gang association. And I was sitting there with an activist, a peace maker, a person representing the community,” he said, per The New York Daily News reports. Lathan was convicted of murder in 1996.

“He’s very, very grateful,” Lathan's lawyer, Lauren Noriega, said. “He is very eager to get home. He was away for 25 years, so his children and grandchild don’t really known him and he wants to reunite with his family and live a low-key life.”

Continue Reading

Trailer Released For Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five Flick, 'When They See Us'

Ava DuVernay's last work of cinematic excellence is coming pretty quickly. The writer and director's forthcoming film When They See Us has officially released the trailer. The Netflix film, which takes a look at the true story of the Central Park Five—five black teenaged boys who were falsely convicted for the 1989 rape of a white female jogger—is set to hit the streaming platform on May 31.

The four-part series will follow the lives of Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Jr., Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise over the course of 25 years, allowing viewers to follow their perspectives from accusation to conviction to exoneration to their eventual settlement in 2014.


View this post on Instagram


On this exact day 30 years ago, a woman was raped in Central Park. Five black + brown boys were framed for her rape. The story you know is the lie that police, prosecutors and Donald Trump told you. WHEN THEY SEE US is the story of the boys from their eyes and their hearts. May 31 on @Netflix.

A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava) on Apr 19, 2019 at 9:25am PDT

When They See Us boasts a laundry list of talented stars, including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, and Marquis Rodriguez.

Take a look at the trailer up top.

Continue Reading
Getty Images/Theo Wargo

Wendy Williams' Estranged Husband Reportedly Fired As Executive Producer From Talk Show

Wendy Williams’ estranged husband, Kevin Hunter, was reportedly fired as an executive producer on her eponymous talk show, Deadline reports. The news follows a tumultuous time for the host, who allegedly filed for divorce due to Hunter’s reported infidelity.

Since 2011, Hunter served as an executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show. Nationally syndicated and distributed by Debmar-Mercury, the company issued a statement on Hunter’s departure. “Kevin Hunter is no longer an Executive Producer on The Wendy Williams Show. Debmar-Mercury wishes him well in his future endeavors,” a spokesperson for the company told Deadline.

Williams tearfully admitted on her show in March that she relapsed and was living in a sober house. Prior to that, she embarked on a brief hiatus from the show due to health concerns as she was recovering from a fractured shoulder. The show then took another hiatus because of her bout with Graves disease.

Hunter recently spoke out publicly about the divorce and has expressed remorse for what he did to their marriage. “I am not proud of my recent actions and take full accountability and apologize to my wife, my family and her amazing fans,” Hunter told PEOPLE. “I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs.”

“Twenty-eight years ago I met an amazing woman: Wendy Williams. At the time, I didn’t realize that she would not only become my wife, but would also change the face of entertainment and the world," he said. "I have dedicated most of our lives to the business empire that is Wendy Williams Hunter, a person that I truly love and respect unconditionally."

Continue Reading

Top Stories