BBC reporter reveals online abuse over Owen Farrell interview

Sonja McLaughlan (BBC)
Sonja McLaughlan (BBC)

Sonja McLaughlan, the BBC rugby reporter came in for a lot of criticism after England were defeated by Wales in their Six Nations clash.

McLaughlan’s questioning of England captain Owen Farrell after the game led to a stream of abusive comments on Twitter, tagged so that she would see them.

McLaughlan later posted: “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.”

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England's official account replied to her tweet, saying: "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.

"Rugby’s core values are teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. Whether we are fans, players, coaches, referees, volunteers or in the media we are all part of the rugby community. We should all aim to hold ourselves to these values of our great game."

The BBC has also condemned the abuse, saying: "BBC Sport strongly condemns the online abuse experienced by Sonja McLaughlan 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."

Several other broadcasters and rugby personalities also came out in support of McLaughlan.

Presenter Dan Walker called the abuse “awful … Sonj, u are so good at your job. Over the years I have used you as an example to many wannabe sports journalists. You never shy away from the awkward stuff & always find the right mix of insight, probing questions & humour.”