Brendan Fevola has broken his silence after his stepdaughter Mia was attacked by online trolls for announcing her relationship with AFL young gun Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
Mia is dating Western Bulldogs’ Ugle-Hagan, who was taken with the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, and has previously been in relationships with St Kilda’s Josh Battle and Richmond’s Daniel Rioli.
Mia has 135,000 Instagram followers and plenty jumped to her defence after trolls attacked when she posted a photo lying on a beach towel with Ugle-Hagan.
The 21-year-old is the eldest child of Brendan’s wife Alex, and he revealed Mia has been dating Ugle-Hagan for eight months.
Brendan blasted the double standards at play after Mia was “slut-shamed”, launching a passionate defence of his stepdaughter on hit radio show The Fox Melbourne.
“I wasn’t going to do this and Alex will probably go nuts that I have done it. But I’m going to talk about my daughter Mia. She’s been in the news the past couple of days,” Fevola said.
“I’ve just read an article … saying Mia Fevola’s been slut-shamed after going public with her new boyfriend. As a father that hurts a bit, to read that.
“Blokes can do whatever they want. They can go and date girls and no one judges them. It’s a lad thing. But as soon as a girl does it …
“Mia’s been with a couple of football players. That’s OK. People date tradies. That’s their profession.
“She was with Josh for a little bit. Dated Daniel. He was part of the family (but) they moved on, they haven’t been together for nearly two years. He’s moved on with another girl which is great for Daniel. He’s a great kid.
“Now she’s met this other guy, Jamarra. Great kid. Young boy. And they started dating before he even started playing football. He wasn’t drafted at all.
“Online yesterday, all the trolls that come out and pot people, and the keyboard warriors who are slut-shaming my daughter – it’s just not on.”
Thousands of Australians attended rallies on Monday afternoon protesting the unacceptable treatment of women in the workplace – and supporting the right of women to feel safe in the community.
Just hours later Mia was attacked online and Brendan confirmed she was devastated by the response to the photo.
“She posted a picture of Jamarra and herself for the first time yesterday and absolutely got hammered (with abuse),” he said.
“She rang up, she was upset, and we were like, ‘You shouldn’t put a picture up’, but then why shouldn’t she? That’s her boyfriend, they’ve been together for nearly eight months or something, they’ve been together for a long time and were really classy and quiet about it. They didn’t go public, they didn’t put it out anywhere.
“As soon as she goes out and does something like that and posts a picture, you get idiots behind a keyboard – mostly men – hammering her.
“As a father, that hurts. That hurts me that they think that of Mia. She can date whoever she wants, she can go out with whoever she wants, whenever she wants. She’s a 21-year-old girl. When we were 21 we were doing whatever we wanted.
“He’s a great kid, she’s a great girl, she’s smart, she’s got her own business, she studies, she’s got a degree … she can do what she wants.
“It just pisses me off that people can write that and say vile things online about any girl, not just Mia.”
Mia shared a retort one of her supporters made to a troll.
It read: “Wow we’re slut shaming now, today of all days where hundreds & thousands of women across the nation marched for the right to be safe wherever they are & with whomever they are with, be it on a social scale or professional, this is precisely the toxic masculinity & culture we’re up against, you should be a shame (sic) of yourself for this comment.”
Ugle-Hagan was the first Indigenous player picked first overall since Des Headland in 1998 and the first Bulldogs top pick since Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney in 2003.
He has been compared to Lance Franklin and the 18-year-old recently admitted he modelled his game on the Swans superstar.
The Bulldogs face Collingwood in their season-opener at the MCG on Friday night.