‘I hope your boyfriend beats you,’ and other mean tweets to female sports reporters – Chicago Tribune
Just Not Sports, a podcast founded by three guys who talk to athletes about their lives outside athletics, approached Julie DiCaro, update anchor for 670 The Score and columnist for CBSChicago.com, with an idea: They’d find a group of real guys (not actors), give them some of the nastiest tweets DiCaro had received, and let the guys read them aloud to DiCaro’s face.
“They wanted to do something they thought would actually make a difference when it comes to how women are treated online,” DiCaro told me Tuesday night, after spending the day watching her video go viral and capture the attention of everyone from comedian Amy Poehler to author Brene Brown to ESPN host Bomani Jones.
The video, produced by Just Not Sports and One Tree Forest Films, features a handful of men reading vile comments to DiCaro and SportsCenter reporter Sarah Spain. DiCaro and Spain saw the comments before the cameras were rolling; the men had not.
It’s one of the most powerful two minutes I’ve experienced online.
A sampling: “One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick.” “Hopefully this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim. That would be classic.” “I hope your dog gets hit by a car, you (expletive).”
Directed at Spain: “I hope your boyfriend beats you.”
Directed at DiCaro, who has written publicly about surviving sexual assault: “I hope you get raped again.”
Because they write and talk about sports.
“I’m having trouble looking at you when I’m saying these things,” one of the men says to Spain.
“I was surprised at how emotional and how humane they were,” DiCaro told me. “You can get really jaded in your interactions with people based on what people say online, and a lot of my interaction with guys day-to-day is not great, especially online. Having these guys be so nice and so kind — one guy had tears in his eyes while he was reading it — that really touched me. I really felt very accepted.”
We should sit with that statement for a minute. “I really felt very accepted.”
Why shouldn’t she? Why shouldn’t either of them? They’re trained professionals with multiple degrees, decades of experience and a passion for sports. Why shouldn’t that be enough to get them accepted into the world on which they report?
“I’ve had guys say to me, ‘I turn to sports to get away from women. The last thing I want is a woman’s voice telling me about sports,” said DiCaro, who, full disclosure, is a friend of mine since her days working in Tribune Tower for ChicagoNow.
“You know this as well as anyone,” she continued. “Being a woman online with an opinion is a huge problem for a lot of guys. And if you stand up and fight back instead of ignoring them, you’re really on their radar. And I’m not a shrinking violet.”
So did the video work? I asked DiCaro. Will it make a difference?
“I hope so,” she said. “I’ve had quite a few people who’ve sent me notes, ‘I never thought about it that way.’ I had one guy I blocked track me down on LinkedIn and send me an apology.”
She also heard from men accusing her of fabricating the tweets. She sends them screen grabs, but they accuse her of Photoshopping them. She heard from men asking, “Where’s the video about men being harassed?”
“If that’s the way you think, I don’t know that there’s anything we can do to change that,” she said.
Maybe not. But I’m grateful they’re standing up to it.