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Australian paper experiences backlash after likening cricket scandal to #MeToo movement

The comparison “cheapens” the campaign against sexual harassment, one Twitter user said.

An Australian newspaper is facing backlash online after it likened the cricket ball tampering scandal to the #MeToo movement.

The Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece on Sunday entitled: “This is cricket’s #MeToo moment: a rare opportunity for complete purge” in response to the controversy.

In the piece, sports columnist Matthew Knox argued that captain Steve Smith is “no more the only ball tamperer than Harvey Weinstein was the only sexual harasser” and added that “the scandal is big enough to present cricket with a chance to cleanse itself”.

The story was written after the Australian cricket team became embroiled in a tampering row when batsman Cameron Bancroft was spotted by TV cameras rubbing a piece of tape, coated with dust from the pitch, on the ball while fielding.

Twitter users have pointed out the lack of awareness in comparing the sporting scandal to the movement which highlights sexual abuse and harassment across industries.

While some called for an apology and a retraction of the article, others  criticised it for “cheapening” the #MeToo campaign.

Another Twitter user, marquelawyers, tweeted: “This is not, of course, cricket’s #MeToo moment. It may come as a surprise to some men, but violating women and cricket balls are not morally equivalent acts.”

Denham Sadler said on Twitter: “The real #MeToo: a global movement highlighting the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.

“Cricket’s #MeToo: we put some tape on the ball.”

Smith and Bancroft later admitted to a plan to tamper with the ball in their third test against South Africa.

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