Paralympic Movement


International Paralympic Committee defends "edgy" TikTok content after criticism of videos

 International Paralympic Committee defends "edgy" TikTok content after criticism of videos
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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has defended its "edgy" and "unique" content on TikTok that has divided opinion on social media.

A series of reels featuring Para athletes have been posted by the official Paralympics TikTok account which has more than three million followers.

Some of the videos have received backlash on social media, with critics describing them as "disrespectful" and "disgusting" and calling for the account holder to be fired.

Among the videos include one using the sound "Bop It" when blind or visually impaired swimmers receive a tap on the head to ensure they do not hit the wall.

Another video features Australian Paralympic cycling champion Darren Hicks, who had his right leg amputated, competing against the lyrics "left, left, left" from a remixed version of the The Soca Boys’ song Follow the Leader.

Making fun of disabled people who have to put so much work to compete in the Olympics is ridiculous. Those are ableist "jokes" at its finest and the fact it's the OFFICIAL Paralympics account that's doing them is even more disgusting. Someone there has to get fired. — (@sigh_meeeh)

"Those are able ableist 'jokes' at its finest and the fact it’s the official Paralympics account that’s doing them is even more disgusting. Someone there has to get fired," one Twitter user wrote after Barstool Sports posted the video gaining 13.9 million views.

The IPC has stressed that the TikTok account was "run by a Paralympian who fully understands disability".

"We have created a strong following through edgy and unique content that allows us to educate an audience who might be less aware of Paralympic sport and the achievements of our athletes," a spokesperson at the IPC told insidethegames.

"We appreciate that not everyone will like the content and sometimes we don’t get it right, but we do closely monitor posts, always converse in reactions to them, and learn from all feedback.

"Importantly we find that the account allows us to positively engage with younger fans about the power of Para sport as a tool for driving social inclusion."

Australia's Paralympic cycling gold-medallist Darren Hicks insisted he was not offended by the video ©Getty Images
Australia's Paralympic cycling gold-medallist Darren Hicks insisted he was not offended by the video ©Getty Images
Hicks, who won men’s time trial C2 gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, said he was not offended by the viral video.

"I don’t feel like they are mocking me, rather just using a song which uses the word 'left', and I happen to be pedaling with only my left leg," Hicks told NBC News.

Portuguese boccia player Andre Ramos insisted a video that he features in "does not demonstrate any type of offense".

"Many people may think so but it’s because they are not used to having contact with people with disabilities," Ramos told NBC News.

"Making fun with our handicaps is a sign that we accept ourselves as we are and that others do not see the disability as a difference."

British Para table tennis player Jack Hunter-Spivey told BBC’s Newsbeat that the videos are a "one great way" to raise awareness of the Paralympics.

"I think it gets more eyes on Paralympics, where we’re getting on the trends and stuff like that on TikTok," said Hunter-Spivey.

Photo: TikTok
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