Female Aussie footballer, trolled for photo of her in mid-kick, gets statue in response

Aussie rules football player Tayla Harris is getting the last laugh — or kick — against online trolls.

Once the victim of relentless online bullying after a photo of her went viral, the 22-year-old is now being honoured with a statue in Melbourne, Australia’s Federation Square.

The bronze likeness was commissioned by a sponsor of the Australian Football League Women to represent the athleticism and power of a rugby player in full flight.

WATCH | Aussie rules footballer gets statue in Australia after relentless online trolling:

Once the victim of relentless online trolling after an in-game photo of her went viral, Australian rules footballer Tayla Harris is now being honoured with a statue in Melbourne, Australia’s Federation Square. 0:39

Last March, the forward for the Carlton Football Club was captured mid-kick in a now-iconic photo by Michael Willson. The photo was posted to Australian broadcaster Channel Seven’s AFL Facebook page and the comments that followed sparked outrage.

Tayla Harris of the Blues kicks the ball during the 2019 NAB AFLW Round 07 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues at VU Whitten Oval on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Harris herself described the sexually charged comments as “repulsive” and said they left her feeling “sexually abused” on social media. So when Channel Seven’s AFL Facebook page decided to remove the photo, rather than moderate the comments, the outrage grew greater.

After an outpouring of support from players and fans alike, Channel Seven’s social media team decided to re-post the photo and admitted their mistake.

At the statue unveiling ceremony Wednesday, Harris said the statement is “a big step” in helping eradicate online bullying.

“Through the whole situation, it gave people a voice and a bit of power to actually rebut against someone who’s said something in a trolling manner. And I think that is a step forward.”



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