ABC Will Not “Dignify” Daily Mail & News Corp Stories About Lisa Millar’s Appearance

Sydney, Australia - March 24, 2015: People entering and leaving the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Centre in Ultimo.

The ABC has issued a strongly worded statement in response to the Daily Mail and News Corp’s coverage of Lisa Millar’s online trolling.

Millar was targeted for an outfit that she wore on Monday’s ABC News Breakfast show and News Corp and the Mail were quick to write stories covering the “sickening Twitter trolls” and their tweets that led Millar to deactivate her Twitter account.

The two publishers followed up their articles with a series of questions to Aunty, with the Mail asking:

“I just wanted to check in to see how Lisa was doing and to see if she or the ABC wanted to comment on the behaviour of the trolls online for a story?

“If so, can you please provide a statement regarding how Lisa is doing, what ABC’s reaction is towards people making these inappropriate comments online, how the ABC plans to take action, if any, against those making inappropriate comments and what the ABC will do to ensure comments like this are regulated or prevented in the future. We’re also open to anything additional you would like to add.”

ABC said that it would not “dignify” the comments about any presenter’s clothes by responding to them.

“If Daily Mail Australia and were genuine in their concern about such behaviour they wouldn’t amplify it by republishing the comments they describe as “vile” and “sickening”, accompanied by a screenshot,” it added.

“Giving anonymous social media bullies publicity on a national platform is participating in perpetuating antisocial behaviour and the very serious issue of online abuse of women.”

The fact that the abuse, and the articles written about it, happened just hours before International Women’s Day was not lost on the network.

“On the eve of International Women’s Day, we ask for a more responsible approach to reporting on these issues.”

Both the Mail and News Corp have covered ABC’s statement. News Corp said it was “particularly targeted despite the Daily Mail and The Guardian writing more explicit reports.”

“The relentless and vile bullying Lisa Millar is subjected to on social media, particularly Twitter, is unacceptable. She is an outstanding broadcaster and journalist and does an incredible job,” said Justin Stevens, ABC’s news director.

“Media outlets that amplify this disgusting anonymous trolling need to take a good hard look at themselves and their standards.”

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