Chrissy Teigen has been outspoken in her support of the gymnasts who have come forward with reports of abuse by former coach Larry Nassar, and now she and husband John Legend have taken it to an entirely new level. According to People magazine, Tegen and Legend donated $200,000 to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the "heroic gymnasts of the USA Gymnastics Team." It was a huge gesture, and continued to further spotlight the horrors these gymnasts have detailed in their testimonies and speeches.
This past week, a Michigan judge sentenced Nassar, a former Michigan State sports and USA Gymnastics coach to 40 to 175 years in prison for "sexually abusing patients under the guise of medical treatment," CNN reports. "I've just signed your death warrant," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told him after delivering the sentence, according to another CNN article. "I find that you don't get it, that you're a danger. That you remain a danger." Nassar had previously plead guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, the same CNN piece reports, and later "admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment," the outlet states. The report also notes that more than 150 women and girls came forward in court to state that he had sexually abused them over the span of about 20 years.
The gesture from Teigen and Legend comes just a couple weeks after Teigen posted on Twitter that she would be "honored" to pay any fines that gymnast McKayla Maroney would face for breaking a non-disclosure agreement. Soon after that offer, according to ABC News, USA Gymnastics dropped the fine Maroney would have had to pay and said they would allow Maroney to speak if she wanted to. "USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them," the statement reads according to ABC News. The NDA was apparently part of a 2016 settlement deal between Maroney and USA Gymnastics, ABC News continued, and her lawyer said she may have been fined up to $100,000.
Teigen's gesture clearly carried some serious power, even if it turned out that the celeb didn't have to follow through with the payment. Maroney even issued a statement through her lawyer, and it was clear that Teigen's support meant the world to the athlete. "I’m shocked by your generosity, and I just want you to know how much hope your words bring to all of us! I just can’t get over the fact that someone I don’t personally know is sticking up for me, let alone a strong women that I’ve looked up to for years!" the statement read, according to the same ABC News article.
It doesn't appear that Teigen, Legend, or any of the gymnasts affected have publicly said anything about this latest gesture, but it seems likely that such a large donation hasn't gone unnoticed. Aly Raisman, another gymnast who has been vocal about her experiences with Nassar, said that though Nassar has been sentenced, the fight isn't over, leaving plenty more opportunity for celebrities to get involved and donate if they are so inclined. "This is bigger than Larry Nassar," Raisman said on the Today Show, according to Vanity Fair. "We have to get to the bottom of how this disaster happened. If we don’t figure out how it did, we can’t be confident that it won’t happen again."
The mood of today's cultural conversation has been more and more open to hearing and really listening to the accounts of women, and the Time's Up movement has only helped that along. That sizable donation by Teigen and Legend will be in good hands as Time's Up continues to work to help survivors of abuse and harassment of all kinds.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.