Anthony Seibold has claimed an employee of NSW Rugby League is part of an online campaign spreading ‘disgusting’ rumours about himself and his family.
In an explosive interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night, the former Brisbane Broncos coach opened up about the damage the rumours have caused his family, while also claiming a NSWRL employee has been identified as a culprit.
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Seibold was forced to step down as Broncos coach in August after a vile campaign of online rumours and innuendo against him.
He opted to take legal action and hired European cybercrime experts to help him track down the source of the rumours.
And speaking to 60 Minutes on Sunday, Seibold said an employee of NSWRL is part of the campaign, but can’t be named for legal reasons.
“There’s someone who makes a living from our game, who is part of this conversation,” Seibold said.
“(They’ve) added to the rumours, and then forwarded on through messages on social media platforms, on Facebook.
“This particular person has got some very high-profile friends from within our game.
“That’s what so ironic about all of this. I can’t sit here and tell you these names because you know essentially 60 Minutes could be charged.”
Seibold said he’s handed the cybercrime experts’ report to police, however there’s not much that can be done.
Seibold said he wants the police to be given greater powers to take action against online trolls.
“It’s vicious. It’s disgusting. As I said, there’s no accountability that I can see in and around the social media platforms,” he said.
“If going forward there is some legislation change and there is some further accountability in and around using identification to social media accounts, then I think that’s a fantastic legacy to leave.”
Anthony Seibold reveals family pain
The 45-year-old said the last few months have been particularly difficult for his family.
“It’s been hurtful to myself. It’s been hurtful to others. It’s been hurtful to people close to me,” he said.
“It’s been pretty tough, particularly the last couple of months. In some ways it’s like the Wild West out there.
“My situation went viral on social media ... my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.
“The very last message on social media was the one that probably upset me the most, because it spoke about my daughter.
“It was hard for everyone to see those messages … they obviously want to hurt myself and the others who were named in some way, shape or form.
“I went through some pretty dark times a few weeks back, because the amount of hate and defamatory comments that was spread.
“And people were happy to spread. It was crazy really. And that’s not the Australia that I grew up in.”
Courageous & I congratulate Anthony Seibold & @Erin_Molan on standing up against such vicious attacks at them on line by trolls. Agree there must be legislation to make people accountable for such detrimental actions.There are far too many anonymous cites that allow such rubbish. https://t.co/5Gm7XtwiAn
— Brendan Joyce (@Brendan_Joyce12) October 11, 2020
Kudos to Anthony Seibold and Erin Molan for speaking out about trolling on 60 Minutes. I am VERY careful about how much social media I let in these days for my own mental health. In summary, don't be a nine-ball, as they say in the great game of rugby league.
— Andrew Webster (@awebster1975) October 11, 2020
What a powerful story by @tomsteinfort on @60Mins.
Let’s hope the bravery of @Erin_Molan Anthony Seibold & Warren Mundine force the necessary change to legislation and these keyboard cowards are held accountable for what they post on their grubby accounts.
Enough is enough
— Mark Levy (@marklevy2gb) October 11, 2020
In August, Seibold’s lawyer revealed a “prominent name” was in the spotlight over the rumours.
“It’s quite unexpected. It’s not just random trolls,” Dave Garratt told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“There is a lot of activity online at the moment so the guys are watching that.”
Garratt later told The Australian the “person of prominence” had “blacked out” their social media accounts when news of the investigation became public.
“The minute it came out that there was cyber-people involved, someone shut down their account straight away - all their social media went pretty much black,” he said.
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