Guys Read Mean Tweets About Female Sportswriters Back to Them in This Heartbreaking Video
Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain are two of a handful of women working in sports media. DiCaro serves as an anchor for a Chicago radio station and a writer for Sports Illustrated‘s The Cauldron, and Spain is a columnist for ESPN. Both women have careers they’re deeply passionate about, but every day they’re met with a slew of mean, threatening, and vile tweets for doing those jobs. So the two teamed up with Just Not Sports — a media company focusing on sports-related topics — to shed light on the harassment and bullying they face on a regular basis and to illustrate that these comments are #morethanmean — they're much more than mean.
The Just Not Sports PSA features DiCaro and Spain sitting in a room opposite regular men, all of whom have been asked to read mean tweets (that others have written) about the sports columnists back to them. The women have seen the tweets before, so they’re as prepared as they can be for what they’re about to endure. The men, on the other hand, haven’t, so all their reactions are honest and unscripted.
The women sit and listen as their harassment is recounted to them. Though the tweets begin in classic Internet troll fashion — they're called whores, they’re told women are worthless outside of the kitchen and the bedroom, and they’re told their work is mediocre — they quickly escalate, painting a dark yet honest view of virtual harassment. Spain and DiCaro face death threats: "One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick." They have domestic violence wished upon them: "I hope your boyfriend beats you." And they're turned into the butt of a horrendous rape joke: "Hopefully this b**** Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim. That would be classic."
The women sit and listen to the horrible comments that come their way. And even though they’ve heard them before, it’s clear from their emotional reactions that the pain they experience every time they hear them is still very real. The men have even more trouble getting through the bullying. Many resist reading, hesitate to complete their sentences, and apologize to the women—reiterating part of the PSA’s key message, "We wouldn’t say it to their faces. So let’s not type it."
The PSA is frank in its portrayal of harassment and incredibly impactful in its message. It's hard to watch without being emotionally affected, and it's even harder to fathom that these women face this kind of bullying just for doing their jobs. It hurts, but it's worth the watch, because DiCaro and Spain are bravely illustrating the struggles many other women — especially in their field — face every day.
Watch the powerful PSA below.