Sports reporter brought to tears after 'disgraceful' abuse

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan.
BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan said online trolls brought her to tears after the Six Nations match between Wales and England. Pic: BBC

The rugby community has thrown its support behind Sonja McLaughlan after the BBC reporter revealed she was brought to tears by online trolls, after the Six Nations match between England Wales.

McLaughlan spoke to England captain Owen Farrell and head coach Eddie Jones after the side's controversial defeat to Wales.

BRUTAL: Wallabies great calls out Scott Morrison ‘hypocrisy’

'IT’S WRONG': Anthony Mundine lashes national anthem first

During both interviews she asked the captain and coach for their thoughts on Wales' contentious opening two tries, with neither man willing to speak out against officials.

The reporter says the backlash she received online was fierce, with users accusing her of attempting to "goad" Farrell and Jones into criticising officials.

McLaughlan revealed that the ugly extent of the abuse left her in tears, after posting an emotional message to Twitter.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

"Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling. Just some of the feedback I've had. Thanks for using @ sign so it's all hit home. Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you're happy," she posted.

The BBC said it condemned the abuse of the reporter, and hit out at those involved in a strongly worded statement posted online.

"We strongly condemn the online abuse experienced by Sonja after the Wales v England match. Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support," the BBC statement read.

A message from the official England Rugby account on Twitter said: "Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are OK. Abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you. We will see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know you have our support."

A message from the official Six Nations account read: "Sonja, we join with the rest of the rugby community to say that this is not OK ... Abuse of public figures or members of the media on social media or anywhere else is not acceptable."

Seen here, Owen Farrell is interviewed by the BBC after England's defeat to Wales.
Owen Farrell was interviewed by the BBC after England's defeat to Wales. Pic: BBC

BBC women's sport reporter Jo Currie said: "Another female sports broadcaster hounded by trolls and reduced to tears. AGAIN. Sonja Mclaughlan you are one of the best in the business and hugely respected. Those interviews were a masterclass today."

England player also cops abuse

England Rugby also condemned the online abuse directed at its players after prop Ellis Genge said he received death threats following the Wales defeat.

Genge said he was sent abuse on social media after footage surfaced of him not clapping Wales players off the pitch following England's 40-24 loss at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

"Don't know why I'm not clapping in that tunnel must be deep in thought, utmost respect for the Welsh as for keyboard warriors sending death threats etc ...." he tweeted.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

England Rugby said Wales "deserved their victory" and urged fans to stand against online abuse by reporting offensive tweets.

"Respect is a core value of rugby," England Rugby said in a statement posted online.

"... Unfortunately, some of the reaction on social media to players and the team has not shown the level of respect the rugby community prides itself on.

"We will support our players and team against online abuse."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.