Newstalk’s Andrea Gilligan on ‘horrible, nasty’ online comments: ‘It’s definitely gotten worse in the last two years’

Newstalk broadcaster Andrea Gilligan has been candid about the “extraordinarily nasty” messages she’s receiving on her social media.

He spoke today about Emily Attack’s BBC documentary that aired last night and explored her experience of receiving explicit, unsolicited images and DMs on a daily basis.

On the subject of sexual harassment, the Lunchtime Live presenter said she’s also experienced a barrage of messages from strangers.

“I know from personal experience that pictures have been sent to me on Instagram. I got photos from a guy, topless photos that were sent out pretty regularly, top-down,” she said.

“One (message) that really struck me last December was a guy who told me he had seen me at night waiting for a taxi and was able to tell me where I was waiting in Dublin, in the Near a Garda station and that I was there a man.

“Although there may have been absolutely no truth to this, it probably scared me a bit at first when I told this story to other colleagues or friends.

“And I’ve had all sorts of messages sent to me privately, others on social media, on Twitter, in threads, even to this particular show’s page. They’re still there…comments under videos.”

The Donegal native was particularly shocked when a friend flagged a series of public comments about her.

“When I did and looked and saw the extent of it, they were horrific, really nasty, very personal comments, talking about me, my body, my looks, everything you can imagine.

“Like ‘Did she gain weight?’ Then, of course, everyone has to get involved and say what they think. And that, of course, entails a huge onslaught of more comments, all public. And it’s definitely gotten worse in the last two years, there’s nothing else to say.”

She has spoken to friends and colleagues at other radio stations and media organizations and knows she is not the only one receiving this type of public comment.

Ms Gilligan, who has hosted her popular lunchtime show for over two years, said she has “no problem” if someone says they don’t like her show or disagrees with her opinion.

“But I think when it comes to your looks and your body looks and your body shape, how you wear your hair, what clothes I wear, it takes a different turn and it gets extraordinarily nasty,” she said.

Interestingly, she said it’s not just limited to men. While comments on public threads about them generally come from male social media users, about 95 percent of private “bitchy messages” on Instagram and Facebook Messenger actually come from women.

“It’s not an attack on men at all. Most of the nagging messages I get are from women,” she said.

Sometimes when she clicks into the person’s profile, they are real accounts with pictures of them with their family or children.

“In my opinion, people are more used to voicing their opinions public now and then they reckon it’s all for nothing. They believe they can say whatever they want to whoever they want,” she said. Newstalk’s Andrea Gilligan on ‘horrible, nasty’ online comments: ‘It’s definitely gotten worse in the last two years’

Fry Electronics Team

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