Aussie news site ditches comments after 'vile' female athlete abuse

Constant "trolling" and "disgraceful commentary" of female Australian rules football players has driven a major news website to indefinitely close its comment sections on articles.
The Herald Sun website, which is the digital arm of one of Melbourne's largest newspapers, said it had closed comments on women's Australian rules reports following harassment of female footballers and sports writers.
"After reading screeds of vile posts by readers — one story contained almost 300 comments of a grossly sexist tone, which were moderated out of publication — the Herald Sun has chosen to close reader feedback on AFLW (Australian Football League Women's) reports except in rare circumstances," Herald Sun head of sport Matt Kitchin told the paper in an article explaining the move.
"The measure was taken because of the constant trolling, harassment and disgraceful commentary by some members of our community," said the article, which was posted on Thursday.
The online harassment of female athletes in Australia has been an ongoing issue, with research from charity Plan International showing sportswomen faced three times more abuse than sportsmen in Facebook comments under articles.
Last year a photo of top footballer Tayla Harris kicking a ball, leg outstretched and airborne, received a swathe of derogatory comments on social media.
"The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable," Harris told reporters at the time. "That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media."

© 2020 AFP
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