Hockey player Jamie Benn condemned for liking transphobic video after ‘performative’ LGBT+ allyship
National Hockey League player Jamie Benn has come under fire after he liked an Instagram post that said trans women shouldn’t be allowed to play sports.
Benn, who is captain of the Dallas Stars, liked a video posted on Instagram by right-wing pundit Candace Owens in which she declared that Donald Trump is a “feminist icon” because of his recent attack on trans women in sport at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday (28 February).
The video was captioned: “Biological men shouldn’t be allowed to compete in women’s sports.”
Hemal Jhaveri, race and inclusion editor at USA Today, shared a screenshot on Twitter which showed that Benn had liked the post.
“Does Jamie Benn know his Instagram likes are public? This is some heinous, hateful, anti-trans garbage Candace Owens is spewing,” Jhaveri tweeted.
Does Jamie Benn know his Instagram likes are public? This is some heinous, hateful, anti-trans garbage Candace Owens is spewing. pic.twitter.com/kfJ4xZNcMD
— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) March 2, 2021
Benn has been roundly criticised on social media for liking the post, with some sharing an image of his involvement in the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” campaign which saw him posing with an ice hockey stick decorated with the rainbow colours to show the importance of LGBT+ inclusion.
Many have questioned whether Benn is actually committed to LGBT+ inclusion in sport after he liked a post that specifically argues for trans exclusion.
Others also pointed out that Benn has never shown support for women’s sports in the past, and questioned why he is only taking an interest once trans inclusion is on the table.
Jamie Benn support for LGBT+ community was ‘all for show’
Trans triathlete Chris Mosier slammed Benn for taking part in the “Hockey is for Everyone” campaign.
Mosier said the campaign “signals league support for the LGBTQ+ community – including transgender people.”
“Randomly seeing Jamie Benn’s like on a blatantly anti-trans post is a direct contradiction to the messaging of Pride Tape/NHL,” he wrote.
He continued: “To hold Pride Tape and then be in agreement of anti-trans statements means it’s all for show – so many LGBTQ+ fans really take it to heart when they see their favourite players supporting them publicly with this taped stick. It’s a big deal.
“Trans kids are being crushed by state lawmakers and singled out for discrimination. That trans community and their allies need people in sports who will uplift them and be by their sides – not just for the photo, not just for Pride Month, outright now when it really matters.”
Countless others also criticised Benn for liking he post.
— The Chris Mosier (@TheChrisMosier) March 2, 2021
jamie benn liking the candence owens "we need to keep biological men out of women's sports" yet never supporting women's sports is exemplary of how it's not about women's sports and it's never been. it's about transmisogyny.
— calder mcineligible (@sappysapphic) March 2, 2021
Tw transphobia //
Jamie Benn has never used his platform to talk abt women’s issues or women’s sports. He doesn’t care abt women. He cares abt being a spineless slug and an embarrassment as captain. pic.twitter.com/5DgYxuwH8Q
— chef angy (@uheeuhaha) March 2, 2021
My heart goes out to all the trans hockey fans out there who feel like they don't belong today because of Jamie Benn. You do belong. You do matter. You have my and RMNB’s support.
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 2, 2021
I have never seen Jamie Benn care an ounce about furthering women’s hockey/sports, speaking out to help women’s sports progress, sponsoring anything so why all of a sudden now does he care about what’s “good” for women’s sports…. https://t.co/NMuIjV10NC
— Leighann Strollo (@LeighannStrollo) March 2, 2021
Perhaps the only time that Jamie Benn has expressed interest in women's sports https://t.co/EZx9ZETUoW
— Stacey Abrams for Conn Smythe: A Hockey Podcast (@saucyrockets) March 2, 2021
Benn has not yet responded to the criticism. PinkNews contacted the Dallas Stars for comment.
The controversy comes as various legislative attacks on the trans community make their way through state assemblies in America.
Lawmakers in at least 20 states are currently targeting the trans community with a series of bills that seek to criminalise trans healthcare and participation in sport.
Disgraced former president Donald Trump sought to capitalise on unfounded and baseless fears about trans people in his first public address since leaving the White House on Sunday.
In his speech, Trump incorrectly claimed that “a lot of new records are being broken in women’s sports” by trans people, and said cisgender women are being forced to compete against “biological males”.