Seibold’s explosive vile rumours claim
Former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has opened up on the devastating toll social media trolls took on him and his family.
After he was named Dally M Coach of the Year in 2018, Seibold was one of the most exciting figures in the NRL, and moved north to Red Hill on a five-year contract.
Brisbane qualified for the final series in the 2019 premiership, but everything went downhill for the club from there on.
Following an embarrassing 58-0 defeat to the Parramatta Eels, the Broncos could only muster three victories in the 2020 regular season, and the powerhouse club were awarded their first wooden spoon.
After months of criticism and media speculation, Seibold was forced to step down as the club's coach in August.
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The 46-year-old was also subjected to salacious rumours during his final months with the Broncos, which were generated and distributed by internet trolls on social media sites.
Seibold was forced to contact police and hire cybercrime investigators in the hope of exposing the culprits who fabricated the "disgusting" rumours.
Speaking on Channel 9's 60 Minutes, Seibold revealed the damaging impact the ordeal had on himself and his loved ones.
"It's been hurtful to myself. It's been hurtful to others. It's been hurtful to people close to me," Seibold said.
"It's been pretty tough, particularly the last couple of months. In some ways it's like the Wild West out there.
"My situation went viral on social media ... my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.
"The very last message on social media was the one that probably upset me the most, because it spoke about my daughter.
"It was hard for everyone to see those messages … they obviously want to hurt myself and the others who were named in some way, shape or form.
"I went through some pretty dark times a few weeks back, because the amount of hate and defamatory comments that was spread. And people were happy to spread. It was crazy really. And that's not the Australia that I grew up in."
Courageous & I congratulate Anthony Seibold & @Erin_Molan on standing up against such vicious attacks at them on line by trolls. Agree there must be legislation to make people accountable for such detrimental actions.There are far too many anonymous cites that allow such rubbish. https://t.co/5Gm7XtwiAn— Brendan Joyce (@Brendan_Joyce12) October 11, 2020
Two weeks before he stepped down from his role at Red Hill, Seibold intentionally broke the NRL's strict biosecurity by leaving the club's bubble to attend to a serious family matter.
After it became public Seibold was launching an investigation, the alleged online trolls quickly erased their digital profiles.
"80 per cent of the messages that were on social media platforms came down straight away. It obviously put a bit of a scare across a lot of the people who were sharing the different messages," Seibold said.
"They're pretty weak.
"I've got quite a few names … so I'd like to see some people made accountable, that's for sure."
Seibold made the explosive claim one of the internet trolls is a high-profile figure in the sport, but for legal reasons is not able to unveil their identity.
"There's someone who makes a living from our game, who is part of this conversation. Who's added to the rumours, who's then forwarded on through messages on social media platforms. On Facebook, this particular person has got some very high profile friends from within our game," Seibold said.
"It's ironic, I mean, these people have had a free for all calling you whatever they want online with no repercussions, and yet if you name them, you'd be the one that cops the punishment.
"That's what so ironic about all of this. I can't sit here and tell you these names because you know essentially 60 Minutes could be charged."
Although social media is undeniably a valuable resource, the damaging impact of internet trolls seemingly increases every year, but current laws prevent police from taking meaningful action.
Seibold hopes to see greater action taken to ensure those who misuse the online platforms are made accountable for their actions.
"It's vicious. It's disgusting. As I said, there's no accountability that I can see in and around the social media platforms," Seibold said.
"If going forward there is some legislation change and there is some further accountability in and around using identification to social media accounts, then I think that's a fantastic legacy to leave."
Kudos to Anthony Seibold and Erin Molan for speaking out about trolling on 60 Minutes. I am VERY careful about how much social media I let in these days for my own mental health. In summary, don't be a nine-ball, as they say in the great game of rugby league.— Andrew Webster (@awebster1975) October 11, 2020
What a powerful story by @tomsteinfort on @60Mins.— Mark Levy (@marklevy2gb) October 11, 2020
Let’s hope the bravery of @Erin_Molan Anthony Seibold & Warren Mundine force the necessary change to legislation and these keyboard cowards are held accountable for what they post on their grubby accounts.
Enough is enough
Originally published as Seibold's explosive vile rumours claim