Nikita Richardson
March 19, 2016 12:05 pm

It’s hard enough being a female reporter writing about general news, but perhaps some of the most widely-criticized female journalists are those reporting on supposedly “male” subjects, like sports.

Lindsey Adler, a sports reporter for BuzzFeed, is used to being on the receiving end of online harassment that focuses less on her work and more on the fact that she’s a woman. Adler says she’s often been told to shrug off the abuse, but today, she decided to go public and shared a very personal letter with her Twitter followers about the harassment she regularly endures.

The letter reads (in part):

According to Adler, that subject line was little more than a Trojan horse designed to get her to open the email in the first place. The actual email itself turned out to be abusive, with the anonymous sender calling Adler a “disgusting and miserable bitch” and making obscene comments about her family before surmising that she could never make it as a female sports reporter at a “reputable” publication.

Adler uses this email to highlight a major problem for women covering sports: The men who work in sports often treat her with dignity and respect, but it’s their fans and regular readers of sports journalism that attack female reporters for daring to cover athletics.

“Emails, tweets, comments like this, they take a toll on my psyche and significantly impact my ability and motivation to do my job,” Adler admits. “I don’t think its tough or admirable to pretend that someone calling me a “disgusting and miserable bitch” doesn’t make me upset for a couple of days. The reality is that online harassment is such a force in today’s society that I have to just accept that choosing this career means choosing to expose myself to some of society’s saddest and most vengeful humans.”

Adler doesn’t offer any solutions nor does she make any promises to just let the next abusive comment slide off her back. Instead, she’s decided to be public about the type of vitriol she experiences as a female sports journalist and to expose a dark aspect of being female online that just won’t die.

“While my skin may thicken to criticism (valid, reasonable!),” she concludes. “A stranger going out of their way to tear me down to their miserable level will probably always feel significant.”

Read the entire letter here.

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