Sky reporter Michelle Owen reveals online abuse over red card mistake
Michelle Owen has shared some of the abuse she received online over her reporting for Sky’s around-the-grounds coverage, and called on social media companies to take stronger action.
Owen reposted a number of the abusive messages on Twitter, in which she was told she “couldn’t do what she’s paid to do”, was called a “stupid bitch” and branded “another useless woman football reporter”. Other messages called her “clueless”, and one told she was an “absolute disgrace as a so-called mother”.
Owen admitted to having missed a red card while reporting on Tuesday’s game between Walsall and Tranmere, but explained why the mishap – an echo of Chris Kamara’s 2010 gaffe – had occurred, and thanked “most for seeing the funny side”. But she also drew attention to “the small minority that sit on social media being mean”.
After receiving more abuse through the week, Owen tweeted today: “Woke up to more of this. It happens far too often to too many people, someone could aim their words at the wrong person with terrible consequences. When are social media platforms going to give accounts accountability? It’s just tiring.”
She added: “This is just a small snippet of the nasty ones. We see lovely messages too and enjoy interacting on here. But sometimes it gets a bit much. My little boy just saw I was a little upset and came and cuddled me, all we can do for now is show the next people on here to be better.
“And of course we can block but we read it first. Which isn’t nice. The vast majority are great, unfortunately the minority try and ruin it for everyone.”
Regarding the comment about her parenting skills, she said: “At a loss really. It’s something every time I open up my phone, I don’t understand why I have to come off social media when I’m not the problem, sorry I can’t respond individually to the good wishes. Let’s all just be better.”
Jeff Stelling, the host of Sky’s round-the-grounds coverage known for ribbing the reporters he conducts throughout broadcasts, wrote on Twitter: “Distraught to hear about the abuse MichelleOwen7 has been receiving.
“She is an outstanding reporter and presenter who I love working with. She happens to be a great person as well. She does not deserve this vitriol – no one does. Let’s all please stop.”
Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend added: “All deemed acceptable by these platforms because their community guidelines are a joke … Don’t worry about the impact and traumatic experience for individuals on the receiving end, you just let free speech reign.”