Suni Lee is speaking out about her new relationship after going public with boyfriend Jaylin Smith over the holidays. On Dec. 26, the Olympic gold medalist — who’s currently a freshman at Auburn University — posted two photos looking blissfully happy with her boyfriend, along with a caption of a single white heart emoji. However, shortly after posting on social media, some people online took issue with the relationship — specifically people in the Hmong American community.
According to a comment left by Suni under a TikTok video, the young gymnast suggested that some people have been sending her hate comments for choosing to date a Black man. The video she commented on came from user alixphom, who posted in full support of Suni’s new relationship. “I know that Sunisa will be judged by certain eyes in the Hmong American Community because her man is Black,” he captioned the video with a screenshot of Suni’s Instagram post. “LOVE is LOVE, no matter what race or gender you are. Keep doing you QUEEN.”
Suni expressed her appreciation for the video, commenting, “This makes me so happy. I’ve received so much hate,” with a crying emoji. “They support me when it’s beneficial for them, never when it comes to my happiness. Thank you!”
The star athlete previously spoke out about another hateful incident she encountered, revealing to POPSUGAR that she was pepper sprayed in Los Angeles after a car drove by and spewed racial slurs at her and a group of girlfriends during a night out. “I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do or control because they skirted off,” she recalled in her cover story. “I didn’t do anything to them, and having the reputation, it’s so hard because I didn’t want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen.”