Double standard: SBS star abused over ‘fake accent’
FOUR years ago, SBS football host Lucy Zelic was lying on the bathroom floor crying because of the abuse she had copped on social media.
It was during the 2014 FIFA World Cup where Zelic was hosting the SBS coverage of the Brazil tournament from a Sydney studio.
She described some of the abuse she copped.
"Get the f**k off my television screen you ugly bimbo," one person commented.
"You stupid f**king s**t, what do you know about Portugal?! It's clear you only got that job because you slept with someone," another said.
As the sister of former Socceroo Ned Zelic she has also copped criticism that the role she landed at SBS was through nepotism.
Fast forward to 2018 and few things have changed.
This time Zelic is hosting the World Cup from Moscow, but the abuse she is receiving remains the same.
World Cup starts tonight. Can’t wait for a month of Lucy Zelic over pronouncing foreign players in a fake accent— Nathan Glennie (@Glendog207) June 14, 2018
Im sorry but lucy zelic needs to stop trying to use an accent when prounouncing countries & players... pls no.. just stop😭😂— Dana✌️ (@gotmegood_xo) June 19, 2018
Most of the criticism levelled at Zelic this year has been around how she pronounces names.
Zelic makes a point of pronouncing names the way they would be said in the player's home country.
It's a trait that the late SBS football icon Les Murray was applauded for. But Zelic is on the receiving end of abuse because of it - clearly because she is a woman - a disappointing outcome in the age of #MeToo.
Four years ago she said the abuse almost made her quit.
"At about 12am one morning right before I was due to make my way into the studio, I lay on the bathroom floor in the foetal position crying for hours because I just couldn't take it anymore," she said.
"At that point, I considered calling my then executive producer Noel Brady to tell him that I was quitting.
"The only thing that saved me on that cold winter morning while I was busy wanting to dissolve into the porcelain tiles was my love for the game."
Front and centre with wonderful memories of the great man Les on set here with us. Our World Cup Today program is just minutes away followed by the big one - France v Australia. See it all, on SBS. #MrFootball #SBSTheWorldGame #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/MT9MgJPDtM— Lucy Zelić (@LucyZelic) June 16, 2018
Speaking to news.com.au before the World Cup, Zelic said the abuse didn't bother her any more.
"It's not really an issue any more," she said.
"Four years ago I'd only been at SBS for a year and was inexperienced television-wise. I didn't know how to deal with criticism from strangers and members of the public but because of my love of football I had to deal with it.
"Five years later I have friends in the industry - women but also a lot of men too - it's just words on a screen now.
"I separate the public Lucy from the private Lucy."