Chloe Madeley: Online rape threats 'must not be interpreted as freedom of speech'

The former Dancing On Ice contestant and daughter of Richard and Judy was recently threatened with rape on Twitter

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The Independent Online

Chloe Madeley has said that online trolling does not fall under “freedom of speech”.

The daughter of television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan was threatened with rape on Twitter, after Finnigan made a controversial comment about convicted rapist Ched Evans on Loose Women, in which she claimed the attack was ‘not violent’.

She later apologised for the remark, but daughter Chloe was soon after targeted by trolls, who sent vicious messages and threats, which her father, Richard, promised would be investigated by the police.

Chloe, 27, has called the remarks “utterly pathetic”.

The incident prompted Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to announce plans to quadruple the maximum prison sentence given to internet trolls.

People who post venomous and harassing messages online could face up to two years in prison – an increase on the six months currently in place for perpetrators.

Madeley has now released a statement, which stated while she believes in freedom of speech, “threats of any kind” cannot be classed under the same category.

“Threatening to harm others is extreme and crosses the lines of personal opinion into criminal behaviour,” she wrote.

The tweets I made this week were frightening, persistent and violent and sadly, too easy to make on a public forum.”

She added that she is “pleased” to see the government addressing the issue of trolling.

“I do feel that the problem lies with the Communications Act, which is 10 years ago and created before pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter,” she noted.

The ever-caustic Katie Hopkins added her voice to the subject last week, arguing that online criticism was just one of the downsides of being a celebrity and something that those in the public eye should simply “accept”.