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Topless photo scandal comes to head in Australia

  • News Desk

    AFP

Sydney | Mon, October 30, 2017 | 09:59 am
Topless photo scandal comes to head in Australia A group of topless women gather on December 21, 2013 at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to protest against the criminalization of topless. (AFP/Tasso Marcelo )

A topless photo scandal that has gripped Australia's biggest spectator sport for weeks came to a head Monday with a player banned for three games and the woman involved left traumatised.

Richmond Tigers' Nathan Broad was revealed as the Aussie Rules star who distributed the picture on social media of the bare-chested woman wearing his winner's medal after the club's 2017 Grand Final triumph.

He didn't have her permission to share the photo, which did not show the woman's face, and it went viral, sparking frenzied media and public speculation about who was involved.

Broad, 24, fronted a news conference Monday with club president Peggy O'Neal to "take full responsibility for what I've done".

"I am ashamed and I am embarrassed and I made a very bad drunken decision," he said, urging anyone who had seen the photo to delete it and not pass it on.

"Most of all I let down a young woman who I cared about -- a young woman who I spent time with before the Grand Final and a young woman who I like and respected."

Broad had told the woman he deleted the photo, after she asked him to do so.

The woman released a statement through her lawyers saying she trusted Broad and was "shocked and extremely confused" when the photo went viral.

"The unauthorised distribution of her photograph and the subsequent attention it has received has had a devastating impact on the young woman's wellbeing," the statement said. 

"She is desperate to maintain her anonymity as she tries to get on with her life as best she can."

The woman has decided not to press charges against Broad to protect her identity.

O'Neal said the club was "committed to gender equity and respect we find these actions to be completely unacceptable".

"We're incredibly sorry for the distress Nathan's actions have caused the young woman, who deserved better," she added. 

She said Broad would be barred from playing in the Tigers' first three matches of the 2018 season.

Earlier this month, the Australian government launched an online portal to report "revenge porn" after research showed women were having intimate images shared without their permission on a "mass scale".

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