Herald Sun switches off comments on articles about AFLW

“Constant trolling, harassment and disgraceful commentary” has forced News Corp’s Herald Sun to switch off reader comments on articles about the women’s AFL (AFLW).

“Some of the comments that our athletes are subjected to are simply too vile to publish,” Lauren Wood, the paper’s AFL and AFLW reporter, said. “This explains why the privilege of commenting on AFLW stories has been removed.”

AFLW player Tayla Harris was trolled incessantly over this photo (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

She noted commenting was a privilege, not a right.

The Herald Sun’s head of sport, Matt Kitchin, said players, commentators, fan and clubs had all appealed to the paper to take this action.

“The least offensive of the comments runs to the tune of ‘get back in the kitchen’, and the worst cannot be repeated they are so objectionable,” Kitchin said.

“It makes the environment so unpleasant that it makes perfect sense that readers wouldn’t want to engage with the stories.”

Noting the sadness of the situation – and stressing it wasn’t a PR exercise or helping the AFLW further some secret agenda – Wood noted if people are going to act like they are in the school yard, they will be treated as such.

“It’s like the schoolyard. A select few go and ruin it for everyone.

“But until things improve, everyone loses the privilege to go outside and play.”


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