Jarome Luai is set to reveal the toll of social media and racist abuse on him and his family in a new documentary series, but has no regrets about his reaction to the trolls.
On the 9Now series “Undisputed”, Luai and his partner responded to the horrible comments he received online, which included racism and death threats during last year’s State of Origin series.
Watch sport this summer live with no ad breaks in play on Kayo Sports. Join Kayo now and start streaming instantly >
The peak of the abuse Luai copped came after game two of the 2023 State of Origin series that saw the Blues lose the series in Brisbane, before Luai was dropped for the final game.
Luai took to social media to call out the abusers labelling them as ‘idiots’ that should go to bed because ‘have work tomorrow morning’.
“Everyone got angry with that post, but it was a laugh for me,” Luai said on the documentary.
“It still is a laugh for me, and I don’t really regret it. There are a lot of people who can give it but not cop it. I don’t know how offensive that post was, but it was aimed at the people who know who they were and knew what they wrote.
“I don’t know how many messages there were that night. It got to 999, then [Instagram] puts a cap on it. It doesn’t go any higher after that.
“All the messages are bad: racism, it’s everything you can think of. I’m just glad it’s me. It could be one of the young boys here at the club who might not have the same resilience or strength.
“They [family] were the ones always telling me how angry they were about [the abuse]. I try to educate them that I can use it as motivation as well.
“I don’t want the emotions of rugby league to come back and affect my family – I want to make sure they never see me frustrated; it’s about leaving footy outside.”
Luai’s long-time partner and fiance Bailey Paris Toleafoa revealed the full impact of the negative comments and messages.
“I’m glad our kids don’t know how to read,” she said.
“Some things people just shouldn’t say. Our main thing is to protect our kids from seeing that stuff.
“The Romey that you see outside is energetic, a loud mouth, all that – but he comes home and is completely different.”
Luai is aiming for a fifth grand final and fourth straight premiership in his final season at Penrith before taking up a lucrative $6 million deal with the Tigers from 2025.
Originally published as ‘It was a laugh for me’: Luai has no regrets over social media post as toll of torrid of abuse revealed