PREMIERSHIP Rugby is giving its full support to a new campaign to tackle online hate from BT called Draw The Line.

This is the first stage of a multi-million pound BT campaign to step up and stand against hate speech and abuse on social media.

Additionally, Premiership Rugby and all our clubs will unite with other sports including football for a social media boycott from 15.00 on Friday 30 April to 23.59 on Monday 3 May. This boycott is supported by the Rugby Players’ Association.

Click here for details of English football’s social media boycott

The Premiership Rugby and club websites will still operate during this time and you may still receive digital communications from your clubs.

Premiership Rugby has received support from our clubs and players to bring this campaign to life

Premiership Rugby is supporting BT’s campaign to stand against hate speech and abuse on social media. The campaign aims to address the problem by raising awareness of the impact of online hate and advocating change, as new research commissioned by BT and YouGov shows that over 1 in 10 have experienced some form of online abuse in the last year and over 1.8 million people have experienced threatening behaviour online in the last 12 months.

BT’s campaign Draw the Line will spotlight the issue across BT Sport channels for the remainder of the season and see the implementation of an Anti Online Abuse Policy.  BT will proactively respond, delete, block or report hate and abuse to ensure its own social channels are safer spaces for their communities.

But the boycott is just the beginning of the Draw the Line campaign. It is clear that the boycott action in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that alongside BT, Premiership Rugby and our clubs is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.

“We are committed to making Premiership Rugby a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment for our staff, players and fans and are delighted to join BT with this innovative campaign designed to tackle social media abuse and online hate of any kind.”

Wayne Morris, the chair of Premiership Rugby’s Diversity and Inclusion Group said: “Premiership Rugby is committed to tackling the major issues that sport and society are facing. These issues are important to the longer-term future of our sport, but equally have a major impact on the communities we operate in.

“We are committed to making Premiership Rugby a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment for our staff, players and fans and are delighted to join BT with this innovative campaign designed to tackle social media abuse and online hate of any kind.

“We want to make this a proactive campaign, so following this weekend’s social media boycott,  we are committing to responding, deleting, blocking or reporting hate and abuse to ensure our own social channels are safer spaces”

What can fans do to support the campaign?

  1. Spot – We can’t start taking action if we keep scrolling and ignore online abuse. When you see it, stop and be mindful of it.
  2. Report – Document any abuse you see and report it to social media platforms or where appropriate, to the authorities.
  3. Support – Something as simple as a private message to the person being targeted lets them know you’re on their side.

Also new YouGov research commissioned by BT reveals the true societal scale of social media abuse:

    • More than one in ten, over five million people, have received online abuse over the last twelve months
    • Half the population have seen online abuse in the past year
    • Online abuse is worse for women with one in five women that received online abuse saying it was about their appearance.
    • The younger the age the more likely you are to experience abuse, sixteen per cent of all 18-34 yr olds have experienced abuse
    • Twenty-three percent of people who identify as gay or lesbian have received online abuse about their sexual orientation
    • One in seven people believe that those working in the public eye should expect abuse
    • Premiership Rugby and BT Sport will spotlight the issue across the channels and introduce an anti-online abuse policy, deleting, blocking or reporting hate and abuse on its own channels and being an active bystander.

Premiership Rugby has received support from our clubs and players to bring this campaign to life

Everyone with an account can make small changes to make the online space safe for all.

Premiership Rugby is pledging to report abuse. Actively amplifying opinions and voices that are being silenced by online abuse. It’s time to draw the line.