Seven has faced intense public scrutiny after removing a photo of AFLW star tayla harris after it attracted “derogatory” and “vile” comments from social media users.
The 7AFL Twitter account removed the photo and replaced it with a message.
“Recently we published an image of AFLW player Tayla Harris.
“The original purpose in publishing the image was to celebrate the power, athleticism and skills on show in Carlton’s thrilling win over the Western Bulldogs.
“The image attracted a number of comments, some of which were inappropriate and offensive. As a consequence, we have removed the image and the comments”.
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 19, 2019
Fans and stars across the sporting world were quick to accuse Seven of bowing to the trolls, rather than simply moderating the offensive comments.
A few hours later, Seven re-uploaded the photo of the 21-year-old Carlton star and released a statement on Twitter apologising for the mishap, saying: “We’re sorry. Removing the photo sent the wrong message”.
We're sorry. Removing the photo sent the wrong message.
Many of the comments made on the post were reprehensible & we'll work harder to ban trolls from our pages.
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 19, 2019
Social media users were quick to point out the issue was not with the photo but rather the decision of 7AFL to remove it.
Matildas star Sam Kerr summed up the issue saying: “the problem was not the photo”.
THE PROBLEM WAS NOT THE PHOTO https://t.co/a48ueZgPcM
— Sam Kerr (@samkerr1) March 19, 2019
Ex-AFLW footballer Meg Hutchins tweeted: “Absolutely disgusting — @7AFL you really should be taking a stand reporting these guys for offensive comments. Enough is enough!!!”
Harris reposted the image to her own account and told RSN Racing & Sport radio the incident has empowered her, but the sexual abuse the female athletic community faces must stop.
Harris said: “These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but taken even further. Maybe this is the start of domestic violence, the start of abuse. And the comments I saw were sexual abuse … it was repulsive and made me uncomfortable.
“As soon as I’m uncomfortable with that, that’s what I would call sexual abuse on social media”.
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