AFLW Hero Tayla Harris Says The Trolling Was Like 'Sexual Abuse'
AFLW star Tayla Harris wants action taken against those who made lewd comments online in response to a photo of her kicking at goal.
AFLW star Tayla Harris says she has been "sexually abused" on social media and wants action taken against those who vilified her.
As the federal government joins a chorus of condemnation, Harris says she's repulsed by some online comments regarding a photo of her kicking at goal.
"The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable," Harris told Melbourne radio station RSN on Wednesday.
"That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media."
Federal Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer said she was "disgusted" by the trolling.
"We need to out these trolls. We need to out these people who would seek to make misogynist comments about women," O'Dwyer told reporters in Melbourne.
O'Dwyer denounced the Seven Network's handling of its social media post featuring the Harris photo.
Seven deleted its post, citing "reprehensible" comments, but later reinstated the photo and apologised after being criticised for giving in to trolls.
"I was pretty frankly disgusted by Channel Seven's response in actually taking down her picture rather than dealing with the trolls," O'Dwyer said.
Harris called on the AFL, and possibly police, to take action.
"If these people are saying things like this to someone they don't know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they doing?," Harris said.
"These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also taken further - maybe this is the start of domestic violence, maybe this is the start of abuse."
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the problem wasn't just an issue for Seven, a broadcast partner of the AFL, or the football code.
"It's more a challenge with the platform, social media, because this is not an isolated incident," McLachlan told reporters in Sydney.
"But when it's unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out and that is what has happened here."
McLachlan said the photo of Harris was iconic.
"It is, I think, a remarkable photo. It shows a great athlete at her most powerful," he said.
Adelaide's Erin Phillips, considered the AFLW's best player, was among a host of athletes dismayed at some online responses.
"There is a lot of trolls that get away with things that shouldn't be allowed," Phillips told reporters in Adelaide.
"But in saying that, what a fantastic response from the community to get behind Tayla.
"It has empowered her. And it has shown to the community, to Australia, that it's unacceptable to troll and put people down."