Emmerdale actress Michelle Hardwick has revealed that she has been receiving death threats and homophobic abuse from trolls online. In an interview with OK! Magazine, she disclosed, “There have been certain times when police have had to be called” as a result of the messages.
“When they’re mentioning your son’s name and you’re just going ‘Really? I’m just in a soap you know – we’re not doing any harm to anybody’,” she added.
Michelle Hardwick, who plays Vanessa Woodfield in the ITV soap, has been openly gay since 2013, and publicly announced her relationship with Emmerdale producer Kate Brook on National Coming Out Day in 2018. Just a few months later, the couple was engaged, and the wedding took place in September of the following year. In October 2020, they welcomed their first son through IVF. While it appears the 46 year-old has found her happily ever after with Brook, the threats have been a negative and unjust consequence of their love.
“The root of it all is always because I’m gay, I’m a gay woman. And it’s like, ‘Lesbians shouldn’t be on this Earth, just burn in hell and die’,” Michelle said of the abuse she has received.
Kate added to this, commenting, “The majority of people are really wonderful and supportive, but, you know, as great as social media can be, there is this real dark side to it as well.”
In August 2021, Michelle shared some of the horrific messages she had received from trolls online. One commenter had called her slurs such as “d**e”, “l***o brat”, and “m**f muncher”. Alongside the screenshot of the comments, she said: “Come on, show us who you really are… I dare you!”
Following her defiant post, she received an outcry of support from fans and peers alike, and later thanked them on Twitter saying, “Overwhelmed by all your beautiful supportive messages […] Thank you to every single person who took the time to message me whether I know you personally or not. I promise I’ll read them all.”
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