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Karren Brady hits back at Internet trolls

West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady has published a column in the Sun in the wake of the Caroline Flack tragedy to highlight Internet abuse celebrities face.

The Baroness writes  “It’s easy to say that words will never hurt us.

But the truth is that internet trolls who attack and criticise people — often women — create a negativity that chips away at the soul.

We all know that online trolls are ­cowards who allow themselves not to think about how much harm they cause as they hide behind the veil of social media.

But sadly, Caroline is just the ­latest in a long line of celebrities who turn out to be as human as the next person — susceptible to words of hatred and scorn that are, I am afraid to report, an inevitable and nasty side-effect of being a woman in the public eye.

I have pretty much always been on the receiving end of abuse, often from football supporters who can spout the most hateful stuff.

More often than not it comes from middle-aged men with daughters and families of their own who still think it is somehow OK to have a go at me even though I have nothing to do with transfers or the team and clearly don’t play football (not that that would make it OK either).

The abuse I get is vile. And so much worse now than it’s ever been.

It is very personal, hateful and targeted. Internet trolls often reduce me to the way I look as a way of attempting to belittle me.

“Slag” and “slut” are words I often read — the words that are used to sexualise abuse against women.

I’m a resilient person. And, at the age of 50, I’ve got a lot of life ­experience under my belt.

But it can still get to me.

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It’s not the individual attacks so much as the steady stream of abuse — people talking about slapping me, killing me and accusing me of things I haven’t done.

I’ll be honest. Instead of getting easier to handle, it gets harder.

Especially because my “misdemeanour” — and that of most women in the public eye who face abuse — is that I dare to put my head above the parapet, to have a mind and a voice of my own and to plough my own furrow.

I’m sure a lot of men (who don’t know me) would like me to get back in the kitchen and make the tea.

But even if I tell myself to ignore whatever it is being criticised — my weight, my hair, my job — and even if I know that the only thing that matters is what I think of myself, and what my family and friends think of me, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

People can be great, of course and often are. But they can also be vile. And the vile ones have more impact.

Twitter doesn’t do nearly enough to stop that. (The last time I reported a tweet to Twitter when someone said he was coming to “give me a slap”, I was told it did not violate their rules.)

My only power is to do the one thing they do not want me to do, ignore them.”


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About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

9 comments on “Karren Brady hits back at Internet trolls

  1. She’s not wrong.

  2. Agree with her comments although it’s not just women it can be anyone thats attacked.

    Is the solution to only allow social media from registered ip addresses with personal names attached ?

  3. Fully support what Karen has said. I know her pay and bonus gets a lot of abuse in social media but her responsibility for marketing and sales has seen enormous income growth for the club and is currently the only area we are successful in!
    Looking around the stands on match day we have a tremendous number of women supporters. Abuse Karen and you are abusing them!!

  4. The only way to stop it is to change the attitude of the society we live in which has become increasingly worse in the last few years from abuse of politians and celebrities to people of other nations and cultures who thought this was a good place to live and work. Just hi

  5. Totally agree with her and think the abuse she gets from West Ham fans specifically is cowardly and shameful

  6. Yes agree 100%.

    • Agree with what she’s saying about internet abuse. However, we, as WHU fans, should still be free to air an opinion about her performance in her paid position at West Ham. Her 10-year record suggests she’s been overpaid, compared to her peers, and she has underperformed them. And let’s not forget that, while not abusive, her Sun column is not always 100% positive about employees of other football clubs.

  7. Keep up the good work Karren. Haters hate no matter what you do. Luckily things are improving in every aspect of life, although when browsing through the trash cans of web it doesn’t look like it.

  8. Totally agree with Karen Brady. I’m thankful for the work she does for our club. And don’t give it the usual old “what does she do for our club exactly” nonsense because that’s a load of old flannel. Reasonable supporters know perfectly well how hard she works on the business side of the club. She doesn’t deserve the abuse she gets on certain websites. Check out the abuse she gets regularly on certain West Ham podcasts too.

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