Cheer’s Jada Wooten Says She Was Excluded From Cast Appearances

Jada Wooten Photo: Netflix

Cheer season two threw a new team of worthy rivals into the mix against the hegemony of the Navarro College Bulldogs. Led by coach Vontae Johnson, the Trinity Valley Community College team notably features Jada Wooten, whose outspoken, dedicated approach to the sport has won her fans and critics. Wooten shared in an Instagram post that prior to the season’s release, she signed a contract agreeing to three photo shoots and “a list of appearances” with Rebel Athletic, a cheer-apparel brand that casts athletes like Gabi Butler as spokespeople. However, Wooten said the brand disinvited her to the scheduled Cheer cast meet and greet on January 30, as well as upcoming cast appearances at the NCA All-Star Championship and Cheersport competitions. ‘Their reason for this was my language in the show was bad and I don’t fit their brand,” Wooten wrote. “She told me, ‘Moms won’t want their daughters taking pictures with you.”’

In the five-paneled post, Wooten juxtaposed images of her initial photo shoots with disparaging remarks allegedly made by Rebel Athletic. She also touches upon the insular nature and racial disparities within the cheerleading world, dedicating her message to those “who are too much or never enough. Too big, too black, not black enough, too small, too poor, not smart enough.” The controversy comes as Black TVCC athletes are accused of seeming “unsportsmanlike” in the docuseries, which ends with their 2021 victory over Navarro. In response to Jada’s Instagram, Rebel said in a statement to Vulture that due “to her choice of words in Cheer Season 2, and our median audience being 8 to 10 years old, we asked her to sit out 3 meet and greet events that would attract a younger audience.” The company claims to have offered the Netflix star “other opportunities,” but instead, “she asked to terminate her relationship with Rebel in its entirety.”

Wooten also adds that she was “not invited” to the recently announced Cheer Live Tour, co-created by Navarro coach Monica Aldama and sponsored by Rebel Athletic. The tour features both Navarro and TVCC athletes Gabi Butler, Morgan Simianer, Maddy Brum, Angel Rice, Dee Joseph, James Thomas, Jeron Hazelwood, Gillian Rupert, and Cassadee Dunlap.

“While my feelings were hurt, I really want the bigger focus to be on athletes who experience similar challenges to know they are not alone and that myself and others are fighting for every single one of them,” Wooten said to Vulture in a statement. “I spoke about this today to be able to show everyone that even athletes who were given the opportunity to be on a Netflix series still go through the same battles that they do.”

Cheer’s Jada Wooten Excluded From Cast Appearances