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AFLW star Harris calls for action on online abuse

Football

AFLW star Tayla Harris says she was subjected to “sexual abuse on social media” following the publication of a picture of her playing for Carlton.

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Harris says she’s repulsed by some online comments regarding the picture 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 RSN radio on Wednesday.

“That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media.”

Harris called for the AFL and possibly police to take action.

The photo of Harris was published by, among others, the Seven Network on social media.

Seven deleted the post, citing “reprehensible” comments.

The network later reinstated the Harris photo and apologised for withdrawing it after being criticised for giving in to online trolls.

“I don’t want to give oxygen to the trolls but one thing that happened to come to my mind through all this … I saw the comments,” Harris said.

“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.

“So perhaps this is an issue that might even have to go further because 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?

“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 was pleased the trolls were being held to account.

“There is negativity in lots of aspects of our game and the community. It’s an open platform so that can happen,” McLachlan told reporters in Sydney.

“But when it’s unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out – and that’s what’s happened here.”

– AAP

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