A former NFL cheerleader is firing back at cyber bullies after a rival football team’s fans called her “ugly” and “an eyesore” on Facebook.
Kaitlyn Collins of Eagle River, Wis., who used to be a Green Bay Packers cheerleader, posted a YouTube video answering people who posted cruel remarks about her appearance on an unofficial Chicago Bears Fan page. A photo of Collins in her Packers cheerleading uniform surfaced on the page on Monday, with the caption “Like If You Agree The Packers Have The Worst Cheerleaders In The NFL!”
Collins, who did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment, does not say a word during the video. Instead she holds up handwritten sheets of paper to the camera.
“Most comments on the photo were too horrible to repeat, but had the same theme…UGLY,” she writes. “This is bullying in its newest form — cyber bullying.”
“Thankfully,” she goes on, “I have an amazing support system full of wonderful friends and family telling me that I AM BEAUTIFUL. What about the people who don’t have that at home? What will happen when something like this happens to them?”
Collins’ video has been watched nearly 200,000 times since it was posted online Wednesday.
But the photo of Collins and the hurtful comments were not removed from the Chicago Bears Fan page until Thursday. By that time, it had been “liked” over 3,000 times and there were hundreds of negative comments.
In her video, Collins wrote that she asked Facebook to take the hateful post down, but the site “found it does not qualify as bullying under their standards.”
“We’re concerned about any abusive behavior, and have made efforts to promote an environment where everyone on Facebook can connect and share comfortably,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a prepared statement.
“We maintain a robust reporting infrastructure that leverages over a billion people who use our site to keep an eye out for offensive or potentially dangerous content. This reporting infrastructure includes report links on pages across the Facebook site, systems to prioritize the most serious reports, and a trained team of reviewers who respond to reports and escalate them to law enforcement as needed. This team treats reports of harassing and bullying content as a priority.”
There has since been an outpouring of support for Collins. Facebook users took to the fan page to criticize both the social networking site and the page’s administrators for not taking the insults down more quickly.
“We did not see all the posts to take down the Cheerleader pic until today,” the Chicago Bears Fan page administrators posted on Thursday. “We get hundreds of messages per day and are not always on here. The issue has been resolved. Please respect one another and do not bully on this page.”
Collins thanked those who stood up for her, even if they didn’t root for the same team.
“So, to all the Bear’s Fans [sic] that defended me…I gladly (for one night only! Still a Packer chick!) wear blue and orange!” she wrote. “Thank you! From the bottom of my green and gold heart!”