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“Threats of sexual violence, and threats against the kids” - Wayne Barnes opens up about social media abuse

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Wayne Barnes has had to endure some of the most horrific abuse on social media in recent weeks, with messages that would shock even the most thick skinned.

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In an interview with ‘The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’, Barnes has opened up on the effect that online abuse has had on his personal life.

Speaking to Alex Payne and Benjamin Kayser, Barnes expressed that the issue of social media abuse has extended well beyond criticism of his game. His wife and kids have been targeted with disgusting comments and messages, causing the great referee to contemplate whether the job is worth the stress.

Speaking about the threats, Barnes had the following to say.

“There was direct abuse to Polly, threats of sexual violence, and threats against the kids.”

“That takes it to a different level. Yeah, and when I said it’s been a shitty couple of weeks, it’s been a shitty couple of weeks.”

Clarifying the sheer difference between an opinion on his performance, and the personal attacks on his family, Barnes made his point crystal clear.

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“I don’t mind people criticising my performance and if they want to abuse me directly, that’s their choice. But it wasn’t just a line they crossed. It was a line that you kind of don’t even seen the line.”

Fortunately when questioned whether or not he had come to a decision regarding his officiating future, Barnes responded “I’m still refereeing”. This led to Barnes confirming that should he be selected for France 2023, he would “love” to take the opportunity.

Check out the interview below:

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