A powerful video aimed at raising awareness of the horrendous harassment facing women in sports media has taken the internet by storm.
The four-minute video, produced by US website Just Not Sports, features Chicago-based sports reporters Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain.
The pair are read disgusting online messages they have been sent by a series of men – who are not the ones who posted the content.
While the reporters had previously read the messages, the men had not, and they struggled to deliver the vulgar and hateful abuse.
Watch the video below (warning: you may find the video upsetting):
The men regularly apologised for the content of the messages they were reading.
One asked if he really did have to read one of the especially nasty posts. He eventually agreed, telling Sports Illustrated’s DiCaro: “I hope you get raped again” — the words of an anonymous hater. DiCaro wrote in 2013 that she had been raped while she was in Cancun.
ESPN reporter Spain was also read a series of vile messages, including one that said: “I hope your boyfriend beats you.”
The video ended with this written message: “Some women in sports are harassed online just for doing their jobs. We wouldn’t say it to their faces. So let’s not type it.”
A series of apologies from the men followed.
The video, which is being shared on the hashtag #MoreThanMean, had been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.
The abuse continues
Sadly, DiCaro and Spain were the subject of further abuse after the video was circulated.
Many of the messages they received on Twitter were of a pleasant nature, but some were too distasteful to print – or have since been deleted.
Want t know why more women don’t put themselves out there? These are from just the last 5 minutes. pic.twitter.com/L9p6bTGSk3
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) April 27, 2016
@j0eg0d Yes. They don’t get threatened with gang rape.
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) April 26, 2016
DiCaro did post this message about the men in the video.
The Erin Andrews case
Female sports reporters in the United States have long been the target of online trolls and stalkers.
One of the most disturbing cases was that of Erin Andrews, who works for Fox Sports and the US version of the ABC.
In March, the 37-year-old was awarded a $US55 million ($A74 million) payout in her lawsuit against a stalker who secretly filmed her in the nude and shared the explicit video online.
Andrews was filmed through a peephole by a man who booked a hotel room next to her at the Nashville Marriot Hotel in 2008.
The video, which runs for almost five minutes, was viewed millions of times online.
The jury ruled that Andrews was owed $US28 million by the stalker and $US27 million by the hotel owner and operator, West End Hotel Parners and Windsor Capital Group.
Andrews and a hotel owner settled on the lawsuit on Monday under confidential terms.
Closer to home, Channel Nine presenter Erin Molan has previously opened up on the nasty abuse she has received on social media.
The Footy Show presenter told News Limited: “When I started, I got a lot of ‘You should be in the kitchen’ and those were the nice ones.
“I’ve copped some nasty tweets and comments. I’ve felt horrendous at times, reading tweets. I’m not immune. I’ve learned to be resilient and strong.”
Journalist Jacquelin Magnay wrote in a column in The Age in 2009 – when social media was far from the beast it is today – that the rise of the internet had made trolls more vicious.
“In these days of Facebook and email there is little barrier to the endless abuse of the messenger,” she said.
“Once, I got a dagger splattered in blood sent to me in the mail. Now I just get threats about being run over.”