Sunrise host Nat Barr has revealed she was “really torn” over tactics to combat online trolls who’ve targeted Matildas players in a string of vile attacks.
Offensive, hateful messages have been directed at some Australian players in same-sex relationships following the team’s historic FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
Nat and co-host Matt Shirvington spoke to Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell about the “despicable” online abuse.
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During the segment, the Sunrise star said she didn’t know whether it was better to publicly call out the trolls or ignore them altogether.
“I’m really torn on this because a lot of us have had trolls and I don’t know whether it’s better or worse to call them out and talk about it more,” she said.
Nat Barr and Matt Shirvington. Credit: Seven
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“Because the people who troll, do they like this attention?”
Campbell agreed that it was a difficult situation, but said more needed to be done to protect people against trolls.
“I can only assume that the people who troll like the attention because I honestly don’t know why else you would go online and speak about someone you don’t know, you have no connection to and also hasn’t done anything to you,” she said.
Sam Kerr is dating US footballer Kristie Mewis. Credit: Sunrise
“I think that’s the point here — none of the Matildas are trying to convert anyone. Being gay is not contagious. It’s not like they’re a threat to health and safety or well-being.
“They’re quite literally just going out there living their lives, and they haven’t done anything personal to any of the people who are coming out and calling them out online.
“It’s one of those really awkward situations — like we need to call it out, but we also need to find a way to like shut down these hate preachers and the hate speech. I’m not sure how to do it.
“But I hope that the Matildas are feeling the love from the whole country because I just know so, so many people are so proud of them.”
Matildas player Emily Van Egmond is engaged to Kat Thompson. Credit: Sunrise
Shirvo agreed that online abuse must be stopped.
“It is madness, isn’t it? That I mean just we’re gonna continue to have this discussion, what needs to be done about it?” he said.
“How about doing something about it? More punishment, block them, get them off.
“It’s so hard though, because often they’re faceless. Often, they’ll just don’t do another account, but it just can’t continue.”
Kirsty and Tameka Yallop with their daughter. Credit: Sunrise
Nat then shared her No.1 tactic: “Just block and delete. I think that’s one of the answers.”
Earlier in the segment, Campbell said the troll activity was a disappointing turn of events after such an epic Matildas World Cup campaign.
“It’s just despicable. And I think that we’ve seen something truly remarkable over the past four weeks or so – we’ve seen a country come together and unite in a way that only sport can bring people together,” Cate said.
Nat and Shirvo speak of Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell. Credit: Sunrise
“We had over half of the population tune in and watch one single event and I think what captivated the nation was that we were seeing sport like we’ve never seen it before.
“We’ve seen it with crowds that are welcoming and cheering. We’ve seen true empathy on the field displayed by our players and it’s helped connect a whole new generation of Australians with sport and with women in sport.
“To players being the target of online abuse, it’s just disgusting.”
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