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Team USA Paintball Player's TikTok Video Gets Her Booted

Jessica Maiolo accused of fatshaming in controversial COVID comments
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2021 1:30 AM CDT
Team USA Paintball Player's TikTok Video Gets Her Booted
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / kadmy)

(Newser) – Jessica Maiolo has been kicked off Team USA Paintball after the 31-year-old posted a controversial TikTok video about a 17-year-old who'd been hospitalized with COVID-19. Posing in front of a TV set playing a news story about the boy, whose mother said she wished she'd gotten him vaccinated, Maiolo said, "Ma'am, your kid does not need a COVID shot. Your kid needs a f------ treadmill," reports NBC News. Maiolo was accused of fatshaming and making light of a child's serious illness, with some also wondering whether she's anti-vaccine. After the video went viral (and was ultimately deleted), Team USA Paintball removed her as a member indefinitely, saying it has "no tolerance for discrimination or bullying of any kind."

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Maiolo, whose TikTok account was banned after the incident per the Daily Dot, later apologized in a lengthy Instagram post saying, among other things, "It was never my intention to shame any individual, my reaction to the story about the young boy actually comes from a place of deep fear that people believe they have little hope in the way of staying healthy and being in control of their own wellness." News.com.au notes that she has previously made it clear on social media that she is against the COVID vaccine, and has shared "fringe theories" about it. Team USA Paintball is not affiliated with the Olympics. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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