Photo of Australian Footballer Sparks Controversy

Photo of Australian Footballer Sparks Controversy

A photo of Australian footy star Tayla Harris made headlines last week when a post featuring the image was uploaded the the Channel 7 AFL broadcaster's Facebook page and began garnering a slew of derogatory and sexual comments.The photo, taken by AFL photographer Michael Willson, shows Carlton star forward Tayla Harris kicking her first goal of the game during a match between her side, the Blues, and Western Bulldogs. Because women can't seem to get away with simply existing in the world without some amount of spineless trolls hopping on the internet to make lewd comments about them, the comments on Facebook post of the image that was shared on Channel 7's page quickly filled up with with graphic and derogatory comments and remarks. Channel 7 then made the unfortunate decision of deleting the post entirely, rather than simply moderating the comments.

tayla harris afl football

Image courtesy of Michael Willson and the AFL.

"If these people are saying things like this to someone they don't know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they doing?" Harris asked during an interview with RSN Radio. "These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also taken further. Maybe this is the start of domestic violence, maybe this is the start of abuse.

"The comments that I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that," the star continued. "Because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable so as soon as I'm uncomfortable with something like that that's what I would consider sexual abuse on social media."

Channel 7 eventually re-posted the image to their social media pages with an apology for "sending the wrong message" by removing it in the first place.

Harris also posted the image to her own Twitter page with the caption "Here’s a pic of me at work... think about this before your derogatory comments, animals." The post generated over 60,000 likes and 6,000 comments.

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21 Comments

Rob Davis's picture

Important to remember, it is okay to think something and then NOT post it on the internet.

Laughing Cow's picture

I would always be surprised by the level of bigotry and puritanism of the Anglo-Saxon peoples!
[Evil is in the eyes of the beholder ...]

Rob Davis's picture

The problem had nothing to do with Puritanism, it was the disrespectful and demeaning comments.

Imagine you’re having your first gallery show and rather than talk about your pictures the you worked so hard on, all anyone does is giggle in the corner about being able to see the outline of your balls in your pants.

It’s just not something civilized people do to one another. That’s not being Puritanical, it trying to not be delusional. It’s being able to see an athlete and focus on her being an athlete, not speaking as if she’s a stripper.

Laughing Cow's picture

I repeat: Evil is in the eyes of the beholder ... period

Rob Davis's picture

If you come up with something better let us know.

Laughing Cow's picture

It is strange to see how some kind of people, which you are obviously part, has this capacity to negate the reality…
Of course, if you are blind (minded) it is not in the eyes of the beholder

Rob Davis's picture

By better I mean not pointing out basic general truths and actually accounting for the nuances of real life.

greg tennyson's picture

I had sympathy for her until she called the photo a "pic". She probably shoots vertical video too...

Us Aussies will shorten any word we can.

Matej Ažbe's picture

Why say lot word when few word do trick.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Miss. Harris, good for you for posting this image on your feed. Great shot and keep up the good work.

However, animals should not get the short end of the stick being compared to spineless idiots.

If I had this same picture of a guy, would I post it? (Yes)

Therefore, I see no reason not to post this picture.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Top athlete, what a kick!

why do people want to sexualize everything? Why can't we just appreciate the amazing athletic ability she has.

Laughing Cow's picture

As I wrote before: Evil is in the eyes of the beholder ;)

Trolls will say things online that they'd never say in person because of anonymity and no accountability. Some because they feel it empowers them, others because they simply enjoy getting away with it. Still others for different reasons. That'll never change.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

You're all thinking the same thing...check out that BOKEH!

Jacques Cornell's picture

When a player takes his ball(s) out of bounds, the defending side gets a free kick.

Michael Murphy's picture

I’m curious if these troll comments came from people/men just in Australia or if it was a world-wide occurrence. Seems to me this kind of behavior has gotten worse (a lot worse and a lot more outspoken in public without any fear of reprisal) here in America ever since Caesar came into office, yes I mean El Presidente Trump. Our President is an Ignorant Unintelligent Delusional White Supremacist Racist PIG but he’s the man in the Office so that makes it okay; No, No that doesn’t make it okay, that makes it the total opposite of okay, that makes it Not-Okay, Totally Not-Okay!

As a male and a man myself, I must have missed that memo somewhere or my DNA is flawed because my mother taught me to treat women as respectful as I treat men, as I would like to be treated myself. She also taught me that a person’s skin color doesn’t make them any different than me and to treat them as I would ask to be treated both men and women equally.

My father on the other hand even though he wasn’t all that attractive and was physically undesirable to everyone, knew he was God’s gift to women, treated them like they were subservient playthings/sex objects and should be kept barefoot and pregnant, should keep their legs open and their mouths shut (and openly said these comments in mixed company in public back in the 70s and 80s). He was Mentally, Emotionally and Physically Abusive to our whole family at least until I got big enough to fight back and start giving as good as he gave out then he reconsidered ‘his’ absolute position in ‘his’ monarchy in ‘his’ household. I learned how to be a proper man by watching my father and then never ever doing anything he ever did, said or thought or the way he went about doing anything.

My father hated Niggers, Spics and Chinks. And before you MAGA people get your panties in a bunch read the rest of this post. I tried to claim my ‘Native American/Cherokee Indian’ Heritage a number of years back (yes, I’m part Savage for all you MAGA people out there) and found out that they won’t recognize me as part of the Cherokee Tribe because I had a recent ancestor that was ‘owned’, yes people you heard that right! I’m part Black on my Daddy’s side but wait it gets better! I had a DNA test done and I’m also part Japanese, and Puerto Rican on my Daddy’s side can you beat that?!

My father was the biggest Fraud I have ever met; he hated everything that made him who he was and behaved as if he was better than everyone around him presumable to compensate for his short-comings and ‘bad’ blood-line.

Turns out I’m more non-White than I am White but like many people say I ‘look White’ or ‘look White enough’ and can hide out in the open unless I tell someone most will just assume I’m White which by the way is a skin color not an Ethnicity, Caucasian is an Ethnicity, White is a Skin Color.

A lot of people/‘White people’ ask me why I can’t just be White or pretend I’m all white (and join them) because I‘m not and denying any part of myself denies the me that I am. So I’m either White or I should just pretend to be White so I can hide. Why? I’m me, not just part of me but all of me. You don’t pick and choose which part of you and your heritage you can identify with; by denying any of my heritages I deny myself and that’s just wrong. I’ve even had certain people try to use the ‘Race Card’ on me and call me a “Racist!” Really which Race am I Racist against? I’m pretty much all of them so who can a Discriminate against?

Its funny how empowering it can be to find out exactly who you are and where you come from.

Women are people just like you men, not ‘women are people to’ not ‘Women are people also’, just straight up “Women are People”, period end of comment. Although why women would want to claim themselves as part of the ‘human’ species, no offense but I find it difficult to understand why women would want to group themselves in the same specie class as men, “WHY?! Most men are pigs!

Johnny BeGoode's picture

Right we live in this world of ‘social media’, this means anybody’s opinion anywhere, can be added to the mix at anytime on any subject, article, photo, ad which enables a comments section.

Because these spaces allow a comments section, you are open to a huge spectrum of comments. It’s that simple, you can’t change it, you can’t stop it and trying to police it creates more trouble than it is worth. Ignore the comments you don’t like and don’t assume comments you don’t like will encourage a certain kind of behavior, if it hasn’t in you then why do you think it will in others. Comments you don’t like, especially sexual in context like in this example have always been with us, always will be with us, previously you couldn’t type into a piece of newspaper, now the medium has changed not the thoughts of men. Yes some men are cunts, some like to create a scene, some like to shock, some like a laugh, some are not so sensitive, some don’t care, some hate it etc same for women by the way. What you can’t do is police the nature of humans, I’d suggest curating your posting more wisely if you really care, however that might not get the eyeballs the publications are looking for.

After so many years of social media, media outlets understand this kind of opportunity. An organization like 7 will carefully select each image they post, images which they know in advance will create a certain kind of 'controversial', reaction, a reaction which will get a viral effect, increase click rates, site rankings etc which they can then condemn and collect virtue points on top in the meantime have their brand in front of more and more people. Win win.

The problem with living your life on social media means that ordinary people too have to also put on their ‘public face’ all the time, pretend to be shocked when they read language they would normally laugh at down the pub, pretend to hurt at language they have little idea the real context it was posted in, feign shock and horror at sexual language they pretend would never come out of their mouths.

“Our intention was to highlight @taylaharriss incredible athleticism & we'll continue to celebrate women's footy.”” Ha ha of course it was, then choose one that doesn’t almost expose her genital area. But as I said that might not have got the response which I'm sure you are very glad it did. Hi fives around the office there, boy’s. I mean girls.

Luke Adams's picture

It's called porn culture. And when we've normalized that culture, comments and lewdness like this start spilling over into everyday life.