Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro has claimed that two-time World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe is only successful because she is an “outspoken lesbian.”
The former Breitbart editor took a pop at Rapinoe after she led the US women’s soccer team to a second World Cup victory.
Hitting out at the football star on The Ben Shapiro Show, he complained that “we all have to pretend this is normal.”
Ben Shapiro: Megan Rapinoe is getting contracts ‘because of her sexuality’
He said: “We’re talking about — gay marriage is legal across the United States by Supreme Court diktat.
“We’re talking about Megan Rapinoe is getting million dollar contracts specifically because of her sexuality, and because she’s a very very good soccer player.
“But let’s not make any mistake, if she was a very good soccer player and she were not a very outspoken lesbian, she would be getting fewer contracts because she’s seen as a political figure.
“She’s sort of Colin Kaepernick but with actual talent at her sport.
“All of this is obnoxious, but we’re supposed to pretend it’s all charming and wonderful.”
Ben Shapiro says Megan Rapinoe is getting soccer contracts because she’s “a very outspoken lesbian” pic.twitter.com/bSH40zM08X
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 10, 2019
After his comments were picked up by Media Matters, Shapiro defended his claim that the two-time World Cup champion is successful because of her sexuality.
He tweeted: “Every word I say here is true.
“I say that she is getting contracts and publicity because of her politics AND because of her great talent.
“Which is why she is being discussed on MSNBC rather than ESPN alone, and cutting political ads for Nike.”
Megan Rapinoe has faced homophobic abuse from Trump supporters
However, Rapinoe was actually one of five LGBT+ players on the US World Cup squad.
She attracted significant attention from mainstream news outlets last month after Donald Trump attacked her on Twitter, for saying she did not wish to attend a White House reception.
The player has faced a deluge of homophobic abuse online in recent weeks from the President’s supporters.
Ben Shapiro, host of online political podcast The Ben Shapiro Show (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)
Police in New York opened a hate crime investigation this week after Nike posters featuring Rapinoe were vandalised with homophobic slurs, following her renewed spat with Trump.
The graffiti on images of the openly gay US soccer captain included the phrases “screw this ho” and “shemale.”
Addressing the President directly in a CNN interview this week, Rapinoe said: “Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me, you’re excluding people that look like me, you’re excluding people of colour, you’re excluding Americans that maybe support you.”