Farah exposed as online troll after suggesting PM receive 'a noose' for her birthday

Staff writers with AAP, Yahoo!7 September 12, 2012, 2:03 pm

NRL player Robbie Farah, who asked for goverment assistance in combatting online trolls, has apologised over an offensive joke he made about the Prime Minister in 2011.

The West Tigers captain said in a statement he had apologised to the Prime Minister over the Tweet, written back in September last year.

"As you are aware I have been vocal in recent days about criticising those who say some pretty disgraceful things through social media and I have appreciated your support in relation to that cause," he wrote in the apology to Ms Gillard.

"It is an experience that has highlighted the hurtful nature of unthinking comments and even those which are sometimes put forward as ‘black humour’."

"In the course of this I have been alerted to a ‘tweet’ I made last year in relation to the Prime Minister which was in hindsight clearly offensive.

"At the time I did think about what I had done and removed the ‘tweet’ soon after posting it but that of course doesn’t repair the damage.

"I make no excuse and offer my sincere apologies. I can only say that I have learnt a lot in recent days and I hope that everyone in the community can learn about the pain that we can cause through such comments.

"Hopefully the whole situation will only serve to encourage everyone to think about what we are really saying before we hit the ‘send’ key."

News Limited spoke to a social media commentator who unearthered a deleted tweet sent from Farah's account in which he suggests the Prime Minster should get 'a noose' for her birthday.

The deleted tweet was sent as a response to a question from NRL personality Mark Geyer.

Geyer's message to Farah asked, "What would you buy the PM for her birthday? It's her 50th today", to which Farah responded, "a noose...".

After receiving criticism for his tweet Farah deleted the offensive remark and said, "Some people on twitter obviously can't take a joke. Lighten up people."

The revelations come days after Farah called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to crack down on online abuse after he received an offensive message about his deceased mother.

Farah tweeted Ms Gillard, appealing for similar measures to the ones that allowed British authorities to arrest a teenager for making offensive remarks about Olympic diver Tom Daley's deceased father.

"We all need to make a stand and get these scums off Twitter. The laws are piss weak and people should be accountable for their comments," Farah wrote.

"We need to take some action and change these soft laws. People need to be accountable for their comments. #makeastand."

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell says he wants to work with the Commonwealth to send a strong message to people who harass others on the internet.

"I think it's unacceptable, whether it's a star footballer or whether it's an average citizen out there, to get either racist, defamatory or other inciteful messages from someone who thinks they can do it anonymously," he said.

"We are seeking a review of existing Commonwealth legislation to see what between the Commonwealth and the states we can do to close any potential loopholes that exist."

NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher says he will speak with police about cracking down on online abuse and agrees the Federal Government needs to intervene.

"It's pretty clear that they're appropriately named twitters because they're coming from twits," he said.

"As I said about a week ago, honestly, these clowns who hide behind their keyboards in their mother's basements thinking they can send offensive messages, [we've] got to empower police with the ability to replace their keyboards with handcuffs."

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