“Homosexuality is now mandatory at Warwick”: Twitter troll attacks Warwick sports clubs

Warwick sports teams become the subject of Twitter trolling after a student appeared on ITV’s This Morning to protest against ‘I Heart Consent’ workshops. They received abuse after supporting Warwick pride week.

George Lawlor, wrote a piece for The Tab in October protesting against ‘I Heart Consent’ workshops run by the Students’ Union (SU), claiming that they were “the biggest insult I’ve received in a good few years”.

As a result he became the unwitting subject of a Twitter row after he appeared on daytime show This Morning to explain his reasons for writing the piece talk about his experiences of discrimination from students on campus.

His appearance sparked support from viewers commenting on social media, with many expressing their shock that Lawlor should be the subject of such a backlash.

The situation soon spiralled, however, when trolls began targeting Warwick Sports teams’ Twitter accounts, particularly pictures which showed clubs celebrating Pride Week. Men’s Football and Women’s Rugby were the main teams targeted.

The attacks came from an individual from the US, who appears to be the nephew of US Senator John McCain.

Pictures of the teams wearing rainbow laces were responded to with tweets such as “apparently, homosexuality is now mandatory at Warwick” and “I’m beginning to think Warwick might be the gayest university in the world.”

The abuse was focused on tweets promoting Warwick Pride Week Photo: torbakhopper / Flickr

George Lawlor was tagged in most of these tweets.

Women’s Rugby have issued a statement after some of their team member’s personal accounts also became the target of these trolls.

They said: “On November 25, our club experienced a series of homophobic comments on Twitter, merely one week after Warwick Pride Week and the Kick Homophobia Out of Sport campaign. This behaviour is a prime example of why we need the aforementioned movements.”

Women’s rugby was one of the clubs at the centre of the trolling Photo: Warwick Women’s Rugby Club

“At WWRFC, we pride ourselves on being an all-inclusive, diverse team which does not tolerate any form of discrimination; nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or discriminated against because of their sexuality.”

Other university sports teams have showed their support by sharing the statement, with SU president Isaac Leigh also expressing his disappointment that an open discussion over consent had escalated to this extent.

He said: “Consent workshops are a great tool for raising awareness, providing education and facilitating open and honest discussions around sexual consent… It remains disappointing that their primary purpose – educating students (particularly club and society exec members) of all genders and sexualities – is becoming lost in this discussion.”

Mr Leigh also pledged SU help for those students who have been the subject of trolling on social media as a result of this debate.

He said: “Welfare of all our students is paramount, and we strongly condemn bullying and harassment in any form.”

“The SU has reached out to everyone involved in recent media publicity, and would encourage anyone who would like further support to contact our free and confidential Advice Centre or any of the sabbatical officers.”

The University also ensured that Lawlor would be supported should he need it.

A representative said: “Both the SU and the head of his academic department have already approached and spoken with him…we will ensure that we are on hand to offer our support.”

ITV was also contacted for a comment but have not yet responded.

Comments (1)

  • I didn’t realise ‘Troll’ translates to someone with a differing opinion. Of course, the Boar must maintain its goal of 75% of its news covering twitter spats.

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