Serena Williams has sparked an intense backlash after she suggested the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case was asking to be assaulted.
The world Number 1 tennis star made the astonishing indictment in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, which was posted online on Tuesday.
In the article, Williams said the victim ‘shouldn’t have put herself in that position’ and described her as ‘lucky.’ Some are already labeling the 31-year-old’s remarks the most controversial of her career.
Outrage: Serena Williams, pictured on Tuesday at Burberry Menswear Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show in London, has sparked outrage with her controversial comments
‘Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know,’ she told the magazine. ‘I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you—don’t take drinks from other people.’
‘She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.’
High school football players Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were each sentenced to a year in juvenile detention in March for raping the intoxicated teen. The two friends were caught after other students who watched the assault laughed and joked about the horrific crime in an online video.
Williams’ jaw-dropping remarks to Rolling Stone prompted a wave of criticism on Twitter on Tuesday.
One user, Jamil Smith, tweeted: ‘Pro tip for @serenawilliams or others discussing rape: if “I’m not blaming the girl, but…” exits your mouth, stop there. There is no “but.”‘
A female Twitter user, Sabrina Siddiqui, wrote ‘Disappointing that powerful woman like Serena Williams, who many young girls look up to, blames the victim.’
Meanwhile, Kate R tweeted: ‘Seems Serena Williams needs a muzzle. Or compassion for a teenage rape victim? Either or…’ and a user called JB wrote: ‘Hopefully Serena Williams realises her mess & fixes it. So many women look up to her.’
The tennis superstar, who recently won the French Open, put her foot in her mouth in the past.
At the 2011 U.S. Open, she was fined for verbally abusing a lineswoman. More recently, the younger Williams sister had a verbal tit for tat with American tennis player Sloane Stephens after the up-and-coming player denied Williams was her mentor, adding that she had never reached out to her.
In response, Williams tweeted ‘I made you’ to Stephens.
She was also slammed for doing a Crip Walk synonymous with a dangerous gang in California after she won the Olympic gold in London.
Read more: DailyMail