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A professional paintballer has been booted off Team USA after fat shaming a teenage coronavirus patient.
In a now-deleted video posted on TikTok, Jessica Maiolo said a young boy didn't need a COVID-19 vaccine after contracting the virus, but needed "a f**king treadmill" instead.
Her comments were met with immediate backlash from social media users, who slammed her for seemingly making fun of the boy for his weight.
The news bulletin that Maiolo is commentating over claims the 17-year-old named David Espino spent 10 days in hospital and even used an oxygen machine.
It's understood his mother admitted that she wished she'd given him the vaccine sooner.
Jessica Maiolo of #teamusapaintball likes to fat shame hospitalized teens and spread COVID-19 misinformation. pic.twitter.com/62o1vaSlVI
- Savannah (@rx0rcist) August 6, 2021
Maiolo saw this segment on the news and went on an attack of her, showing zero sympathy for the kid.
"Ma'am your kid does not need a COVID shot," Maiolo said in her TikTok clip while standing in front of a television.
"Your kid needs a f**king treadmill. That's what he needs."
The video racked up a ton of views with people flocking to the comments section to condemn Maiolo for her insensitive and horrible remarks.
Witnessing the negative reaction she was receiving online, Maiolo then deleted the video - but it was too little too late.
It didn't take long for the clip to make its way to Team USA officials, who swiftly launched an internal probe into the matter.
"Team USA Paintball has no tolerance for discrimination or bullying of any kind," the organisation said in a statement via Instagram.
"It has always been our highest priority to represent our copuntry with integrity and respect. To the family that did not need, ask or ever deserve to be put in this position - we thank you for allowing us the chance to show where we stand.
"Our investigation into the troubling conduct of Ms. Maiolo has been concluded and we have decided to remove her from the team indefinitely."
The statement added: "Playing for Team USA Paintball means representing the sport at the highest level and being a leader both on and off the field. We are an eclectic mix of culture, opinions and ideas - and that's what makes our sport so great. We cannot tear each other down, both within our community and out. We are hopeful that this will serve as a valuable lesson for anyone paying attention."
The sporting body's decision was met with widespread praise from fans on social media.
As for Maiolo, who it seems has shared misinformation after the COVID-19 virus and vaccine before, she has now been forced to release a statement of her own following the news of her sacking.
"What started out as me expressing my personal opinion about something I feel quite passionately about, has turned into a moment of regret for the situation I have put my teammates, our sponsors and the sport I love into," she said.
"If I were to have such a moment again to convey my full thoughts, I would choose my words more carefully and consider how my opinions may affect others.
"As may be evident by the hobbies I have, I am a passionate individual. My fire is the same for paintball and fitness as it is for self advocacy and all of the things that make me proud to live where I do.
"I appreciate the opportunity to see this situation from the viewpoint of others, and to learn where I can do better and will. I hope that I may inspire others to realise the power of their words too."
Featured Image Credit: Team USA Paintball / TikTok/ Jessica Maiolo
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