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#MoreThanMean spotlights the vile online insults some women endure

In a video, two female sports reporters show social media's nasty side when it comes to women in a male-dominated field.

As part of the #morethanmean campaign, Chicago radio sports anchor Julie DiCaro listens to a man read some of the vile comments she's received from people on social media.

Just Not Sports

It's more than four minutes of raw distress.

But that's exactly the point of "#MoreThanMean," a video that squarely hits home at the harassment many women endure online.

In the viral video produced this week by sports podcast Just Not Sports, several men read vicious comments that sports journalists Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro actually received on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. These were a lot worse than the "Mean Tweets" skits on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show.

"One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick," one man read out loud.

"Hopefully this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby's next victim. That would be classic," another read.

"I don't know what to say to that," responded DiCaro, who has publicly discussed being a rape victim.

"I hope your boyfriend beats you," someone read to Spain.

There were also a fair number of "C-words" and "B-words" directed at Spain, who is an ESPN writer/columnist, and DiCaro, an anchor with Chicago sports radio station 670 The Score.

Online harassment isn't limited to women, say Anita Sarkeesian, Jaclyn Friedman and Renee Bracey Sherman, who have themselves experienced online threats and vitriol. The three, who wrote a 30-page manual on combating online abuse, say people of color and those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are subjected to it, too.

DiCaro told CNET in an email Wednesday that she received more than 500 notifications on Twitter after the video was released on Tuesday. "It's been crazy how fast it took off," she said. "I've had friends in Australia and New Zealand message me to tell me they saw me on the news. We never envisioned anything like this."

The men in the "MoreThanMean" video did not write the vile comments, but they appear uncomfortable while reading them to Spain and DiCaro. Some cringe and even apologize to the reporters.

"I'm having trouble looking at you when I'm saying these things," one man told Spain.

Just Not Sports co-founder Brad Burke said in a statement the goal of the campaign is to call attention to the cruel words being leveled at women. It's time men say something to stop it.

"We wanted to find a new way to make guys see and experience the effects of online harassment," he said. "By reading harassment out loud, men are forced to experience the true power behind the words, which is often lost on a screen."

Jemele Hill, host of ESPN's "His and Hers" TV show and podcast, said Wednesday she expects to be called out on social media daily. She praised the video but said she expects a backlash.

DiCaro and Spain told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" Wednesday that hearing the words being spoken affected them more than they had expected.

DiCaro later told CNET via email that despite the global messages of support -- trolls have been tweeting to her, too.

"We knew there would be a backlash from some of the darker corners of the internet, and that's definitely been the case. But I feel like the trolls yelling about the video represent the last gasp of a dying breed," she said. "They know they'll never again have the world the way they want it, where you can treat women as lesser and harass them into silence, and they're angry about it."

DiCaro also told the Chicago Tribune she was surprised at how emotional the men were during the video.

"You can really get jaded in your interactions with people based on what people say online, and a lot of my interaction with guys day to day is not that great, especially online," she said. "Having these guys be so nice and so kind -- one guy had tears in his eyes while he was reading it -- that really touched me. I felt really accepted."

Spain wrote in a column Wednesday that said some of the men's hands were sweating as they read the comments. Some asked if they really had to read them. Spain said she knows a public service video like this won't eliminate online harassment, but she hopes it will spark much-needed conversations.

She also said she won't stop doing her job just because there are "sad, unfulfilled, angry, misogynistic, jealous people in the world."

"I will, instead, pity them, knowing that their lives must be terribly unsatisfying if they feel compelled to attack strangers with unwarranted vitriol," she wrote. "They must be deeply unhappy if they can so easily shed their humanity and aim to damage women like me."

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