BBC rugby reporter Sonja McLaughlan has insisted she will not change her interview style despite the abuse she has received online.
McLaughlan interviewed England captain Owen Farrell following her side’s defeat to Wales at the Six Nations in February, and she was criticized by some social media users for insisting on the referee decisions which had appeared to frustrate the ‘team.
McLaughlan then took Twitter to say that she was “in my caye crying” as she revealed the extent of the abuse, which she has now spoken about in an interview with The Guardian.
“I don’t know if people have gotten so used to bland post-match interviews that when someone suddenly does their job they’re a little bit shocked,” she said.
“I don’t know, but I think if a man had asked the same questions the stigma probably wouldn’t have been so severe.
“Am I going to change? No, because I’m old enough and ugly enough to take it.
“All I did was my job, and I just couldn’t figure out what my alleged crime had been.
“I am curious about the sport. If you’re going to do pre-game or post-game interviews, well, let’s do them right, ”McLaughlan continued. “Let’s not spread platitudes, because what good is it?
“Alex Sanderson [Sale’s director of rugby] Recently called me the smiling assassin, but that’s who I am and I’m trying to do it to the best of my ability, because I think it’s the right thing to do. “
The BBC condemned McLaughlan’s online abuse following her interview with Farrell, saying in a statement: “Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support.”
England Rugby, meanwhile, tweeted: “Sonja, we are so sorry to hear this and hope you are doing well. Abuse to do your job is not acceptable and we are on your side.
“We’ll see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know that you have our support. “
The official Six Nations account wrote in an article: “Sonja, we join with the rest of the rugby community in saying this is not OK. Respect is a value of rugby that we hold in the highest regard.
“Abuse by public figures or members of the media on social media or elsewhere is not acceptable.”