Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

A man asked why Simone Biles wasn't smiling – and her response was perfect


Simone Biles is one of the world’s most famous athletes – and, with nineteen medals under her belt, the 20-year-old is officially the most decorated American gymnast to date.

But even Biles can’t escape a man’s directive to smile.

Read more: Chelsea Handler’s powerful message to men who tell women to smile

On Monday night’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, host Tom Bergeron decided that it was appropriate to ask Biles why she wasn’t smiling in response to some of the judges’ positive comments.

Clearly unimpressed by the question, it seemed – for a moment – as if Biles would ignore the question completely. And then, looking down into the microphone that had been thrust so unceremoniously into her face, the athlete decided that it was high time she reminded Bergeron of her impressive CV.

 “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals,” she fired back.

Cue rapturous applause from the studio audience.

Biles’ salty comeback has since set the internet on fire, with many taking to Twitter to praise the athlete for her “crisp response”.

“’Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals’ is likely going to be my life motto from here on out,” wrote one.

Others dubbed her “savage” and filled their social media feeds with the applause emoji.

But it was Bergeron’s apologetic response which really caught our attention.

Read more: Why it's time to put a stop to banter in the workplace

“Loved @Simone_Biles crisp response to my clumsy question,” the TV host wrote.

“Curious how she felt about judges’ comments, I unwittingly added to the smile pile.”

He added: “The question I should have asked (and have of many contestants) was ‘What's your reaction to the judges’ comments?’”

In a post-show interview with Entertainment Tonight, Biles was quizzed about her biting comeback – and the athlete explained that she has found it difficult connecting with the judges, despite being a fan favourite.

“You don’t know which wild card of sexy or happy they want you to bring, and you almost have to read their minds and find it,” she said, explaining that she finds it tiresome that she’s constantly being ranked on her ‘likeability’ over her dancing skills.

Read more: Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas “heartbroken” over online bullying

When asked how she felt about the judges’ comments and Bergeron’s misogynist question, Biles revealed that the negative feedback hadn’t left her feeling angry: instead, the 20-year-old was hurt, disappointed, and upset.

“I had tears in my eyes. I almost ran to the bathroom at one point, but I pulled it together,” she said.

“I am trying and I am being honest. But if they don’t see that, I don’t know what else more I can do.”

In September 2016, Chelsea Handler made headlines when she filmed a powerful message to all men who tell women to smile.

“Stop telling women to smile,” she said, pointing out that to do so is a form of harassment.

Handler continued: “We don’t like that - it’s not an icebreaker, it’s a dealbreaker. And what is your gameplan anyway? Do you think we’re gonna go smile and then magically float onto your penis? It doesn’t work that way.

“Do you know how sexist that is to say that to us? No one ever tells a man to smile. Try it. Go tell Samuel L Jackson to turn that frown upside down.”

Handler added: “They say it takes more muscles to frown, and I say, well good, then my face is getting one hell of a work out.”

Images: Dancing With The Stars



erin brockovich.jpg

Tackling sexism at work: a leading New York exec shares advice


“Women winning medals? Let’s just focus on their looks!”

Nathalie Gordon.jpg

This woman’s frighteningly relatable story has gone viral on Twitter


The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Selena Gomez’s empowering message to Blake Lively making the rounds

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey shares shocking sexual harassment story

“I got in my car and cried”

by Susan Devaney
18 Oct 2017

Jennifer Lawrence was forced into a naked line-up by a producer

In the name of weight-loss “inspiration”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Abigail Breslin’s photo reveals how domestic abuse can stay with you

The actor has opened up about the realities of living with PTSD

17 Oct 2017

“Why Liar is proof that TV's depiction of rape is damaging to women”

The proliferation of rape in TV and film is a real problem for the representation of women

by Harriet Hall
17 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Stylist
17 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted at 16 by a director

“Producers made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Courtney Love tried to warn us about Harvey Weinstein in 2005

This video shows her speaking out against Weinstein over a decade ago

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hillary Clinton praises NHS after receiving medical treatment in UK

Clinton spoke about the UK’s health service during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Maisie Williams’ response to Sophie Turner’s engagement is perfect

There’s a reason these two have been dubbed #BFFgoals, you know…

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Oct 2017