STOP THE HATE on social media

internet-trollThere is an unusually large amount of hate on social media right now…

All I seem to see lately are reports of people having blocked other people, simply because they expressed an opinion they didn’t agree with. In one case, a theatre critic blocked a blogger after some comments that were made. That blogger then sought out other Twitter accounts and websites they could continue the conversation on which could have been considered trolling.

Celebrity actress, vlogger, blogger and author Carrie Hope Fletcher has also been harassed recently on social media by fans who flock to the theatre’s she is performing at every week on tour, hoping to get to meet her before or after a show. If they don’t manage to meet her they have started to abuse her on social media which has caused her to become anxious about leaving the theatre at all.

Over the years I have witnessed horrible racial abuse of West End performers on social media. I’ve seen Beverley Knight called the ‘N’ word and told to go back from where she came from (which hilariously is Wolverhampton) and recent Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo told to go back to work in the cotton fields.

Even me, a simple blogger who gives opinions about theatre shows I see, have been met with death threats on social media, hopes that I break my neck, calling me fat and a witch! I even have my very own troll account that has been set up to randomly tweet abuse to me! It comes with the territory and I understand that not everyone will agree with the things I do and say but there is no need to be cyber-bullying theatre performers who are simply doing their job and are not your property to play with. It is far too easy to write a throw away comment to someone on social media without realising how nasty you are being.

This week I went to see the hilarious News Revue at the Canal Cafe Theatre. The show takes current news stories and turns them into comedy musical sketches. A hilarious song about Brexit set the the tune of the hokey cokey (“in out, in out, what’s it all about”), Bedtime Tories (David Cameron reading comedy bedtime stories), Boris Johnsons hair, ISIS joining the Eurovision with their song ‘ISIS’ set to the tune of ‘YMCA’ and a whole host of other close to the bone stories designed to give some light relief to the things going on in the news right now. I tweeted that with all the awful things happening in the world, this show provides some welcome relief to hear fun be poked at the things going on in the news. Of course I wasn’t insinuating laughing at all the deaths and murders happening but some people took it that way and decided to unleash their wrath upon me. By expressing my opinions online I know I am opening myself up to retaliation from certain people who don’t appreciate my views and that comes with the territory but it is happening more and more often these days and my timeline is flooding with negative energy towards other people.

If you don’t like the things a person says or does on social media then unfollow them. If you do like a person then think about their feelings before sending abusive messages to them. If any lessons should be learnt from the reason horrific stories in the news right now, it should be that life is short and can be taken away from us at any moment. So spread love not hate.

West End Wilma