Alex Scott: ‘There was a stage I lost myself and personality because of social media abuse’

Former England striker went through a difficult stage handling the hate speech flung in her direction, but has chosen to focus on creating a pathway for diverse voices in the industry

Melissa Reddy
Senior Football Correspondent
Thursday 01 October 2020 08:18
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Alex Scott awarded MBE

Alex Scott, the former Arsenal defender turned leading pundit and presenter, has revealed how being on the receiving end of unrelenting abuse on social media forced her into shell for a period as she struggled to deal with the negativity.

The 35-year-old has been a refreshing voice to the analyst landscape on TV, but has been a persistent target for sexist and racist trolls.

Scott has shown immense strength to shake off the unwarranted hatred to continue to succeed and shatter ceilings in the industry, but detailed the turmoil she suffered.

In episode two of Between The Lines, a podcast hosted by The Independent’s Senior Football Correspondent Melissa Reddy, the Vitality ambassador for female empowerment through sport says: “I went through a stage where it really did affect me, some of the comments.

“I knew I couldn't tell my mom because then she would be worried and I was like taking all this negativity onto myself.

‘When I spoke out about the abuse, it helped. People actually didn’t realise I was struggling with it'

“I kind of lost myself with my personality because I knew everything that was going on around it. And it's not until I actually got to a stage where I thought, ‘I can't take this anymore. It is becoming too much for me’ that I spoke out about it.

“And then the people, when I did speak out about it, it helped. It changed because people actually didn't realise that I was struggling with it. And you can't help someone unless you actively you speak out about it.

“And I think what I've done now, is when I'm going through those times, I do tell people.

“I think we've just seen recently, I have gone through it again with everything that just happened.”

Scott recently and unfathomably had hate speech fired in her direction when Sky Sports refreshed their Soccer Saturday line-up and after being announced as the new Question of Sport presenter.

She has chosen to focus and emphasis the positive elements of how she is helping alter the media sphere in football.

“I've been at the forefront and I'm taking all the hits, but I remind myself that I'm doing this for a positive reason. It's about others getting the chance to come through.

“I didn’t transition into this thinking ‘I want to make headlines’ or ‘I want to be the first female to do this’. I was thinking, ‘why are there not more females?’

“I couldn't understand. I was like, ‘I know all about this sport.’

“I talk about it constantly with all my friends, I've played at the highest level in my head. I just couldn't understand why not, you know, that's why I went into it.

“Not for the headlines, I'm passionate about what I do. We need more females. We need this representation. And so for all the stuff that comes with it, the bad side in terms of ‘get back in the kitchen’ or ‘what do you know about sport?,’ I know that there’s a whole other side that actually I am creating these pathways and I’m opening these doors that hopefully will have a whole influx of females that want to be on screen or behind the screen.”

Listen and subscribe to Between The Lines with Melissa Reddy here.

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