AFLW star Tayla Harris has spoken out after becoming a target for online trolls over a photo published in action on the field.
The Carlton player spoke to RSN radio on Wednesday, saying she was repulsed by some of the comments people had posted under the photo of her kicking at goal, labelling some ‘sexual abuse’.
“The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,” Harris said.
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“That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media.”
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“I know I shouldn’t read them but it’s hard not to … and I can see in people’s profile pictures that they have kids or they have got daughters, or there are women in their photos – and that is the stuff that I’m worried about.”
Harris called for the AFL and possibly police to take action.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan also addressed the issue at a press conference in Sydney, saying its pleasing the trolls have been held to account by others members of the public.
“I think it’s an amazing photo and that’s the overwhelming consensus I feel,” McLachlan said.
“There is negativity in lots of aspects of our game and the community. It’s an open platform so that can happen,” McLachlan said.
“But when it’s unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out – and that’s what’s happened here. It’s put the focus back on the athletes that are playing and what extraordinary things they are doing on the field.”
"It’s a picture of me at work kicking a footy. And what has come of it is pretty disappointing obviously for society, but this is an opportunity for me and a lot of people to speak out." @taylaharriss speaking after an image of the AFLW star was targeted by online trolls. #7News pic.twitter.com/fIswb6BO8A
— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) March 20, 2019
McLachlan admitted they are doing everything they can to speak to players and staff about how to deal with social media.
“It’s a challenging space,” he said.
“When we’re posting stuff I know that the guys work hard to moderate that and take comments down. It’s a big wide world out there and you can’t do it to all.
“Broader accountability by the public I think is a big part of the solution.”