Sonja McLaughlan: BBC condemns rugby fans who drove female reporter to tears with online abuse

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Ben Coles
·2 min read
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McLaughlan said she cried in her car after reading the abusive messages  - EMPICS
McLaughlan said she cried in her car after reading the abusive messages - EMPICS

The BBC has condemned social media trolls who abused one of its female rugby reporters for her post-match interviews in the wake of England's defeat to Wales.

Sonja McLaughlan spoke to England captain Owen Farrell and head coach Eddie Jones after Saturday's defeat where she questioned them over the controversy surrounding Wales's first two tries, which they refused to comment on. She was later criticised online where people accused her of trying to "goad" the pair into criticising officials.

McLaughlan later posted on Twitter regarding criticism she received for the interviews where she said: "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."

The incident comes weeks after the Telegraph Sport columnist and England Women's World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi faced similar levels of abuse on social media following her work as a pundit on the opening weekend of the Six Nations for ITV.

Following McLaughlan's post, the BBC came out in defence of their reporter. "We strongly condemn the online abuse experienced by Sonja after the Wales v England match. Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support," read the BBC statement.

Read more: Alan Tyers: Sonja McLaughlan is asking the right questions, whether and Owen Farrell likes it or not

Owen Farrell refused to comment on the controversy surrounding Wales's first two tries - GETTY IMAGES
Owen Farrell refused to comment on the controversy surrounding Wales's first two tries - GETTY IMAGES

A message from the official England Rugby account on Twitter said: "Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are OK. 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."

A message from the official Six Nations account read: "Sonja, we join with the rest of the rugby community to say that this is not OK ... Abuse of public figures or members of the media on social media or anywhere else is not acceptable."

BBC women's sport reporter Jo Currie said: "Another female sports broadcaster hounded by trolls and reduced to tears. AGAIN. Sonja Mclaughlan you are one of the best in the business and hugely respected. Those interviews were a masterclass today."

The former Harlequins star Ugo Monye said: "You shouldn't apologise for doing your job & done your job superbly well for a long time. Twitter can often be an awful beast. Safe home."

Meanwhile, Andy Goode, the pundit and former player, posted: "I've now seen the abuse she got for the post match interview which again was fair questioning and brilliant interviewing so all the trolls can do one!"