The Seven Network is under fire for removing a photo of Carlton Blues star Tayla Harris from social media after trolls bombarded the photo with misogynistic comments.
The incredible photo featured Harris kicking for goal in last weekend's game, and while many viewed the photo as inspirational, Seven quickly removed the image after it attracted several offensive comments.
In a statement posted on Seven AFL Twitter account, the network wrote: "Recently we published an image of AFLW player Tayla Harris... The image attracted a number of comments, some of which were inappropriate and offensive. As a consequence we have removed the image and the comments".
The network immediately faced backlash with many people calling for the image to be posted again and for the comments to be moderated. Many from the AFL community, including Patrick Dangerfield, were quick to post the image again on their own accounts.
How this incredible image of Tayla Harris by Michael Willson was;— Anna Meares (@AnnaMeares) March 19, 2019
1- seen as negative and drew trolls to comment and
2- that the @7AFL took it down as a result...
So I'm sharing it proudly! #GoTaylaGo #womeninsport pic.twitter.com/ErrdVOwskI
This is a brilliant athlete in full flight. Something to celebrate. Just over three years ago women did not play Australian Football at the elite level. The result of this leap - a goal from 40m out. @aflwomens @taylaharriss #taylaharris https://t.co/HJsxAYsROD— Nicole Livingstone (@NicLiv) March 19, 2019
In response, Seven chose to repost the image and apologised for the way they handled the situation, stating the decision to delete "sent the wrong message".
Here's a pic of me at work... think about this before your derogatory comments, animals. pic.twitter.com/68aBVVbTTj— Tayla Harris (@taylaharriss) March 19, 2019
On Tuesday night, Harris posted the image across her social media accounts, stating "this is me at work... animals".
We're sorry. Removing the photo sent the wrong message.— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 19, 2019
Many of the comments made on the post were reprehensible & we'll work harder to ban trolls from our pages.
Our intention was to highlight @taylaharriss incredible athleticism & we'll continue to celebrate women's footy. pic.twitter.com/p24Ll08LRC
This is just the latest issue AFLW has faced since it launched in 2017, with the competition constantly facing derogatory comments from trolls.
This isn't the first time Seven has come under fire for how they promote the women's game.
Intending to hit back at trolls, Seven had five captains stare down the camera and respond to misogynistic comments with the message 'we don't care what you think'. While some lauded the move, many questioned their actions and believed it could just encourage trolls.