<p>Emily Atack at the Baftas</p>

Emily Atack at the Baftas

Emily Atack went to police after receiving ‘disgusting’ threats from online trolls

‘They knew where I lived, said what they were going to do to me, even my family’

Kate Ng
Sunday 10 April 2022 15:18
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Emily Atack has spoken out about the “relentless” online abuse she receives and how she got the police involved.

The Inbetweeners star, who campaigns against cyberflashing, said she has had to move homes four times due to the targeted abuse, rape threats and online stalking.

It comes as she calls on social media giants to crack down on explicit comments online, describing them as “assault and abuse”.

Atack, 32, said she is bombarded by around 200 messages on social media a day harassing her and threatening her safety.

“They knew where I lived, said what they were going to do to me, even my family,” she told The Sun on Sunday. “I got the police involved.”

She spoke of receiving messages and videos from men “self-pleasuring, awful photos of things I can’t describe, every day”.

The former I’m A Celebrity contestant said there was “one particular guy” who creates a new account to send her messages no matter how often she blocks him.

“He’s relentless and disgusting, beyond anything you can imagine. Yet he says he’s a married man with children,” she said, detailing threats and messages the man sends her.

“These men are exposing themselves to me, doing this, in a more private way, in my direct messages, where I can’t avoid it, It feels shameful… It has made me question my entire existence at times, and how men see me.”

Atack, who played Charlotte Hinchcliffe in the comedy TV series, joined an anti-cyberflashing campaign by Grazia magazine in October 2021.

At the time, she said: “I receive countless abusive and sexually-charged messages every single day. At first, I tried to simply laugh it off. But it’s just not funny anymore.”

In November, she told MPs in Parliament about her experiences for a briefing about online anonymity, related to the then-draft Online Safety Bill.

The Online Safety Bill was introduced in Parliament in March this year after amendments were made to the original proposals.

Major changes to the draft bill include criminalising cyberflashing, requiring social media companies to tackle harmful illegal content and criminal activity quicker, and adding new measures to clamp down on anonymous trolls.

But Atack said she had “lost faith in that system” after police were unable to help her when she reported that she was being stalked online.

“I got the police involved and it was the last time. To be fair the police tried to be helpful… but they hit a dead end because they aren’t allowed access to IP addresses and Twitter, et cetera, won’t give them out,” she said.

Digital secretary Nadine Dorries said when the Online Safety Bill was introduced: “The internet has transformed our lives for the better. It’s connected us and empowered us.

“But on the other side, tech firms haven’t been held to account when harm, abuse and criminal behaviour have run riot on their platforms. Instead they have been left to mark their own homework.”

She added: “Given all the risks online, it’s only sensible we ensure similar basic protections for the digital age. If we fail to act, we risk sacrificing the wellbeing and innocence of countless generations of children to the power of unchecked algorithms.”

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