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Christina Lamb

Online trolls are scarier than jihadis

GL Portrait/Alamy Stock Photo

The worst week of my professional life began with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, says Christina Lamb in The Times. I filed my dispatch, trying to capture his contradictions: “Prince Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in British history – an often crotchety figure, offending people with gaffes about slitty eyes, even if secretly we rather enjoyed them.” I’ve been shot at, bombed and ambushed as a war correspondent, but nothing prepared me for the online backlash.

On Twitter, I was called “a f***ing big-nosed racist wine-drinking c***”. I was mortified; I’d meant to say that we laughed at the duke’s lack of diplomacy, not his racist comments. I apologised – repeatedly. Death threats poured in: “Don’t walk around if I see you or your family I’ll knock you out and so ur family,” someone posted on my Instagram. “I feel sorry for your children. You f***ing racist old hag, washed-up trowel-faced old bitch,” wrote another.

Jihadists “were polite by comparison”. An organisation run by a fashion blogger called Susie Bubble, ESEA (East and Southeast Asia) Sisters, published all my social media handles, then contacted everyone I’d ever worked with telling them to blacklist me. For two months I haven’t slept for more than three hours a night. I check the locks when I go to bed. I leave restaurants if I think someone’s staring at me. My detractors will say I am trying to present myself as a victim, but I’m no outlier. “I have spent my career highlighting abuse and just because I am a target, it would be pathetic to stop now.”