Angelina Jolie Praised the U.S. Gymnasts for Their Courage After Senate Hearing

Gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Simone Biles were among those who gave a damning testimony on sexual abuse.

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This week, former Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney were among those who bravely spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the abuse they experienced at the hands of the disgraced Larry Nassar, a former Team USA doctor. And while many have expressed their support for the athletes, Angelina Jolie revealed Thursday that she was deeply moved by their strength.

On Thursday, the Eternals star, 46, took to Instagram to share a photo of herself with Maroney, Raisman, Kaylee Lorincz, Jessica Howard, and Maggie Nichols, who also appeared at Wednesday's hearing in Washington, D.C. "I was honored to meet with some of the brave US gymnasts who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. I'm in awe of their courage and commitment to preventing future failures to investigate abuse," wrote Jolie on Instagram. "As Aly Raisman said in her testimony, 'Over 100 victims could have been spared the abuse. All we needed was one adult to do the right thing.' Sending support and respect to them, and to all who are reliving this trauma so that system reforms can occur." (

In her post, Jolie added that she spent time in Washington, D.C. this week to urge senators to renew the Violence Against Women Act. Originally passed in 1994, the VAWA creates and supports comprehensive and co-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and dating violence. Jolie also wrote that she lobbied for "FBI reforms, including better protections for abused children, non-biased forensic evidence collection, trauma care, and judicial training."

Several gymnasts gave searing testimony Wednesday about the FBI's handling of the Nassar case, with Maroney's being particularly damning. "After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said. What is the point of reporting abuse, if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in the drawer?" said Maroney, according to USA Today.

Simone Biles, who recently competed at the Tokyo Games, also told the panel Wednesday: "USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge." She added that she and her sisters in the sport "suffered and continue to suffer" because no authorities involved — including the FBI and USA Gymnastics — "did what was necessary to protect us." (

In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 of the more than 265 women and girls who accused him. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Michael Langeman, the FBI agent who allegedly botched the investigation and dismissed the accusers, was fired a week before Wednesday's hearing. Chris Wray, the director of the FBI, apologized to Nassar's accusers for the bureau's failures. "I'm deeply and profoundly sorry to each and every one of you. I'm sorry for what you and your families have been through. I'm sorry that so many different people let you down over and over again. And I'm especially sorry that there were people at the FBI who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015, and failed," he said, according to USA Today.

Jolie has long been a champion of women and an advocate for ending sexual violence around the world. In a 2019 essay for Elle, the Oscar winner wrote, "'Wicked women' are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse. Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don't believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won't give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities. If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women."

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