“Toxic and embarrassing.”
BBC rugby reporter Sonja McLaughlan has revealed she was the target of ‘toxic’ and ‘disgraceful’ online abuse following England’s Six Nations defeat by Wales.
Twitter users targeted McLaughlan following her post-match interview with England captain Owen Farrell.
Wales beat England 40-24 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday to clinch the Triple Crown with controversial tries from Josh Adams and Liam Williams helping the Welsh take a 17-14 half-time lead.
Controversial Wales tries.
Adams’ try was awarded after Dan Biggar’s quickly taken tap penalty kick while there were suggestions of a knock-on from Louis Rees-Zammit just prior to Williams crossing.
McLaughlan pressed Farrell on the officiating during the post-match interview with the England player refusing to criticise referee Pascal Gauzere.
“That’s not for us to talk about,” said Farrell.
“We got back into it in the second half and didn’t quite finish it off. There’s plenty that we can do better.”
On Saturday night, McLaughlan took to Twitter to reveal that she had been targeted with feedback she described as ‘toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling.’
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
— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) February 27, 2021
England Rugby offer support.
Following McLaughlan’s tweet, the reporter received messages of support, including from the official England rugby account.
“Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are ok,” wrote @EnglandRugby.
“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.”
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 27, 2021
The Six Nations also defended McLaughlan, tweeting: “Sonja, we join with the rest of the rugby community to say that this is not ok.
“Respect is a value of rugby we hold in the highest regard.
“Abuse of public figures or members of the media on social media or anywhere else is not acceptable.”
The BBC also released a statement in support of McLaughlan on Sunday.
“BBC Sport strongly condemns the online abuse experienced by Sonja McLaughlan after the Wales v England match,” it said.
“Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support.”