Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr has blasted online trolls, saying the abuse copped by celebrities and politicians is a nationwide issue.
The 54-year-old spoke out after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese opened up about trolling in a message to outgoing WA Premier Mark Mr McGowan, saying the vitriol online adds pressure to politicians’ roles, calling it 'horrific'.
“I have a look at what people say occasionally – usually I try not to look, but it is quite horrific,” he told ABC Adelaide.
“I know during the pandemic there was a need for people in leadership positions to have security because of issues of personal safety … but the things that people say online sometimes are quite astonishing.”
Speaking to Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neill and Liberal Senator Jane Hume on Sunrise today, Nat said a lot of people at home would be asking “why does he look? Can he not just take all the notifications off Twitter like a lot of us do?”
“After the Stan Grant fiasco someone was arrested, do we need to start going down that route? Rather than everyone saying online abuse is terrible, we know that, it doesn’t seem to be ending, do we start arresting people?
“I hope we don’t get to that stage Nat,” Senator Hume said, with Nat replying: “Why not? If they’re abusing people why aren’t we arresting them”.
Senator Hume replied saying: “Some of them are very hard to track down.”
Nat didn’t look impressed, saying: “Some of them have their names. Every women’s panel I’ve ever been on, this is the topic, so let’s start arresting them. They are not all anonymous. I’ve got some on my phone and you can track it. I can see who they are. They’re family people and they seem very normal. They’ve got normal jobs. If I can find them, maybe the police can.
“Kochie’s had just as much abuse as all the rest of us so it’s a nationwide thing.”
Nat Barr victim of online trolling
In October, Nat Barr told New Idea that she tries to avoid trolls at all costs.
“I think the easiest thing is to block them and not get sucked in," she said.
In 2022, Nat was forced to block dozens of people online after receiving vile abuse over a viral video.
Nat was discussing Western Australia's strict ban on unvaccinated parents visiting their sick children in hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic in the footage.
"Once it started hitting US and overseas websites and chat rooms that’s when the abuse started … swearing and negative language," she told The Australian. "If you’ve taken a stand and you’ve given your opinion, people don’t respect your opinion or they might put a screenshot on and write really disgusting language across the screenshot and then send that to you."
Nat revealed that when she took on the role as Sunrise co-host, she turned Twitter notifications off on her phone so she wouldn't see so many of the horrible comments.
The host has previously opened up on how she deals with trolling at a panel at the Australian Women's Weekly 'Women of the Future Awards'.
"The comments are [like] the gutter… you kind of want to have a look, but it's really, really dangerous," she said, touching on some of the backlash she faced after taking the Sunrise co-hosting role after Samantha Armytage left the show.
"I've got screenshots of people saying 'die b—ch, die' all the usual stuff," she said.
"I've had pictures sent to me that say 'this b—ch needs to die, how are we going to do it?'"
She said at the time that blocking the trolls and not getting fixated on what they're saying is the best way to keep sane.
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