Kane Cornes bristles as Caroline Wilson calls out ‘disturbing’ attacks on women in AFL

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Caroline Wilson and Kane Cornes have butted heads after the veteran journalist called out “disturbing” social media attacks on Kangaroos president Sonja Hood.

Hood last week announced her decision to delete her account on X, formerly known as Twitter, after she received a torrent of abuse she described as “gendered, misogynistic and revolting” in the wake of North Melbourne’s winless start to the season.

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Kangaroos coach Alastair Clarkson spoke out in support of Hood, who had been a vocal figure on the platform and had made herself easily accessible to fans.

Wilson on Monday night described the online abuse as “disturbing”.

“Sonja Hood has learned the hard way there’s truly nasty men in the world whose distorted brains mean they just hate women,” she said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“And who specifically believe women have no place in the AFL and who think it’s fine to play the gender card in the most horrifically obscene ways in the name of being football supporters.

“Although I’ve never been on Twitter I’m sad that the North Melbourne president has decided to jump off, because I thought she brought or seemed to bring a refreshing new spin on things.

“Although Sonja Hood has achieved and will achieve much more without the evils of X. Still, if I was a football fan on that social media I’d be voting with my feet and jumping off.”

Wilson turned the discussion towards co-host Cornes, who has repeatedly criticised Hood in public.

Hood said last week Cornes had nothing to do with the sexist abuse she has received from social media trolls.

Wilson asked the Port Adelaide great if he felt any guilt for indirectly “empowering” the trolls.

“Now, Kane, I know that you don’t have a sexist bone in your body,” she said.

“And I know that Sonja Hood has gone out of her way to say that this decision, has got nothing to do with your comments on her social media in recent weeks. But do you worry, as I sometimes do when I make strong comments about people, that you inadvertently sometimes empower the trolls?”

Cornes responded: “I don’t think gender has got anything to do with it.

“If you want to check Hutchy’s (Craig Hutchison) social media or Lloydo’s (Matthew Lloyd) social media on a Tuesday morning, that is just Twitter.

“Unfortunately, if you want to be involved in this game and you want to hold that position, you are going to cop significant backlash. I don’t think gender has got anything to do with it. I’m happy to show you my Twitter time line each and every day.”

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Wilson pointed out the difference in the abuse received is that Hood’s attackers use her gender as something to be denigrated.

Cornes, however, maintains Hood has not been treated any worse than other high profile figures in the sport.

“I’m surprised she wouldn’t have been aware that that is Twitter,” he said.

“Unfortunately, as sad as it is, that is the feedback you get from the looneys out there. That’s just it.

“I was sad she had to go off it as well. I would have thought she would have understood that is unfortunately the feedback you get on there. Everyone gets it. I personally don’t think it has anything to do with gender.”

Hutchison said male media commentators in the AFL have a “duty of care” when criticising people in non-traditional roles — like Hood’s position as the club’s first female president.

Cornes, meanwhile, bristled when suggesting it was unfair for Wilson to drag him into the conversation about the trolling Hood received.

“It’s unfair to link me with that,” he said.

“Nothing I said had anything to do with the issues. I shouldn’t been asked the question.”

He earlier said: “Is it unfair of you to ask that question of me? You bring it up again and people will have that view of me.

“Why bring it up?”

Clarkson, meanwhile, also hit out at the treatment of Hood.

“Sonja has been able to communicate with so many people using that forum and platform, but unfortunately it’s got some risk attached to it and you do open yourself up to some vitriol from time to time,” he said before the team’s loss to Geelong on Sunday.

“I think Sonja’s just said this is just a little bit over the top at the minute, I’m just going to pull myself away from it for a while until the balance comes good again.”

Clarkson praised the two women leading North Melbourne’s administration – Hood and chief executive Jen Watt – as he said any blame for the Roos’ poor on-field performance should be directed at him and football boss Todd Viney.

“(Hood) has been terrific for our footy club – her and Jen Watt govern and administer the club superbly,” he said.

“Probably if there’s any criticism of our footy club, it’s that we’re not going too well on the footy field.

“If you want to direct the blame or the attention to anyone, direct it right here, don’t worry about our administration or our chairperson, I’m in charge of our footy program.

“Todd Viney gives me a fair chop-out … if you want to point the finger, point it at us.”

— with NCA NewsWire

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