TikTok bans ads for pro-women's sports athletic brand

A teenager presents a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok, on January 21, 2021, in Nantes, western France.
A teenager presents a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok, on January 21, 2021, in Nantes, western France. | LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

TikTok removed an advertisement for an athletic clothing company that advocates against allowing men who identify as female to compete in women's sports, with the social media company claiming that the ad violated its community guidelines.

The sports apparel company XX-XY Athletics derives its name from female (XX) and male (XY) chromosomes, emphasizing the sexes' unique characteristics. Jennifer Sey, a retired gymnast, is the company's CEO, and women's sports advocate Riley Gaines serves as one of its ambassadors.

Last Tuesday, Sey announced on X that TikTok had permanently banned the company's ads. She shared a copy of the social media company's message notifying her of the ban, which claimed that her apparel company had violated the platform's policies by "featuring offensive content."

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While XX-XY Athletics can still log into its account, according to TikTok's message, the company's advertisements will not appear on the platform.

In a separate post on X last Tuesday, the sports apparel company shared a video of the ad in question and tagged Gaines. The video shows young girls competing in various sports, including gymnastics, basketball and volleyball, and features clips of women being harmed when forced to compete against trans-identifying male athletes.

"Stand up," the advertisement states. "Don't be cowed by people who call you a bigot. You're not a bigot. Don't let men tell us how to be 'good girls.' Don't let others tell you that you just need to be quiet."

"We deserve our own sports, privacy, safety," the video states. "We deserve a chance to compete and win. So don't be nice, don't be careful. Be honest, be brave, fight for women."

TikTok did not respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

In an interview with The National Desk last week, the CEO of XX-XY Athletics told the outlet that her company had only recently started running advertisements on TikTok, so the ban came as a surprise. Though the company is unable to advertise on TikTok, Sey said she hasn't had any issues with running advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. 

"I think it's really compassionate towards women and girls. And being compassionate towards women and girls is not being anti-trans, and somehow that's how it's being positioned in the world today," Sey said. 

The CEO asserted that TikTok banning the ad only amplified its message, stating at the time of the interview that the ad had reached over 3 million views. Sey also said that her company intends to appeal the ban. 

"We're anything but silenced, and we won't give up because we think the message is too important," she stated.

The pushback against the sports apparel company's advertisements comes amid a nationwide debate over allowing men who identify as female to compete in women's sports.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport released its decision in the case of Lia Thomas v. World Aquatics. Lia (formerly known as Will) Thomas is a trans-identifying athlete who sought to compete in women's swimming during the 2024 Summer Olympics. The court dismissed Thomas' challenge to rules barring him from competing against women instead of men, contending that he did not have standing to bring the case.

Thomas competed against Gaines during the 2022 National College Athletics Association championships. The trans-identifying athlete was allowed to compete against women despite being a man and previously swimming on the men's swim team at the University of Pennsylvania for three seasons. 

Gaines, who swam competitively for the University of Kentucky before she became a women's sports advocate, has spoken publicly about how the NCAA forced female athletes to compete against and undress in front of Thomas in the women's locker room where Thomas' male genitalia was exposed in full view of young women.

Despite tying with Thomas for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle, Gaines said an NCAA official told her that Thomas was to hold the trophy for photo-op purposes. 

Earlier this year, Gaines joined dozens of female athletes in filing a lawsuit accusing the NCAA of violating Title IX civil rights law. The Independent Council on Women's Sports announced at the time that it was funding the lawsuit on behalf of the athletes.

"We're not just fighting for ourselves; we're fighting for every young girl who dreams of competing in sports," Gaines stated about the suit.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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