The female footy fan who became an internet sensation for invading the field during an NRL match has been bombarded with cruel online trolling since the outrageous stunt, a court has heard.
That barrage of public shaming and humiliation on Tuesday helped Javon Johanson, 28, escape punishment in court over her pitch invasion on the Gold Coast that made headlines around the world.
Ms Johanson was labelled by her then-boyfriend as a ‘disgrace’ and ’embarrassment’ after she ran onto the field and disrupted play during the Titans’ loss to the Parramatta Eels on April 9.
Match footage shows the Titans fan dodging one security guard before she was chased down by tackled by another while players watched on.
Johanson was later charged over the stunt and pleaded guilty to entering a major sports facility without permission when she appeared in Southport Magistrates Court today.
Her lawyer, Campbell MacCallum, told the court his client was subject to extensive shame and ridicule after footage of the incident ‘went global’, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.
‘She has been the subject of some fairly distasteful trolling,’ he said.
He added his client injured her right shoulder and one of her fingers from the guard’s tackle.
Magistrate Janice Crawford took Johanson’s early guilty plea and remorse into account as she issued a three month good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.
Johanson avoided a hefty fine of up $10,000, partly due to ‘extra punishment’ she’s already copped.
A relieved Johanson refused to comment to the waiting media outside court.
She has turned her social media settings to private in the wake of recent online backlash.
She has also penned formal apologies to the organisations involved, including both clubs, the NRL, stadium management and the security company.
Johanson originally was inundated with support from new fans who praised her as a legend after she shared text messages from her boyfriend. He dumped her over the incident
The boyfriend – who was not at the game – texted her next morning showing the Daily Mail Australia’s coverage of the incident, plus a note reading: ‘You’re an idiot and disgrace. Thank you for an absolute embarrassment. Don’t try to contact me.’
Despite attracting sympathy from some who said the hit was brutal, Ms Johanson said she found it ‘soft’.
‘I used to play AFL and rugby and I have three brothers, so getting tackled was not a problem,’ she said.
‘It’s been a bucket list thing and when your friends say, ”I dare you to do it”, you don’t actually think you’re going to do it. It was such a surreal, out-of-body experience.
‘It’s the adrenaline of the crowd. You just hear this big roar and I was like, ”I need to take off my top now”. I was so close to doing my bra but I was like, ”No … that’s a bit far”,’ she told Triple M’s Tammy Barker and Bodge.
The 28-year-old filmed herself at the game with a friend explaining she was planning on taking the field.
‘I’m doing this,’ she said in the clip. ‘You ready?’
Footage of the incident went viral within minutes and Ms Johanson later shared another video of all the news coverage her stunt received.
Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses was shown on Fox Sports’ coverage looking shocked and raising his hands to his head as he witnessed the tackle, which took place just metres from him.
Officials confirmed after the game they would be investigating the actions of the security guard involved in the tackle.
But Ms Johanson said it was ‘fair play’ and hoped he wouldn’t face any punishment for taking her down.
‘It’s fair play. I definitely took what I deserved. He should keep his job,’ she said.
Titans chairman Dennis Watt said a review into the incident would be launched.
‘From where I was sitting it did seem heavy-handed. It could have been handled better,’ he said.
‘You heard this collective intake of breath around the ground. It did seem over the top and put the intruder at real physical risk.’
Watt added that while guards usually do a great job, ‘on this occasion the fan could have been contained more easily than that without the risk of injury’.