Richard Bacon reveals cyber abuse agony

Richard BaconRichard Bacon has revealed that he and his family were victims of online abuse.

The Radio 5 Live broadcaster admitted that the nature of the anonymous user’s threats drove him into contacting the police and seeing a psychologist.

Bacon told¬†BBC News that he is shocked how initial criticism of his work “could go to contacting my family and tweeting about my baby”.

“You have got to try and work out where critical comment crosses over into harassment,” he said.

“Under freedom of speech people can criticise you and slag you off, it’s their right to do that.”

The 36-year-old,¬†father to four-month old Arthur, added that the abuse became “deeply personal, obsessive and weird”.

“What I have been through isn’t that bad, really; it’s been distressing for my family. But personally as a broadcaster it’s something I know how to deal with,” the star concluded.

The former Blue Peter presenter said he had originally tried to meet the troll but was advised by a psychologist and the police to make an official complaint instead.

He said: “What I have been through isn’t that bad, really; it’s been distressing for my family but personally as a broadcaster it’s something I know how to deal with.”

Much more disturbing, he said, were the actions of “RIP trolls” who posted offensive messages on tribute sites.

While filming The Anti-Social Network, Bacon met the parents of the late Tom Mullaney, from Bournville, Birmingham, who died aged 15 and whose tribute site was hit by trolls who left offensive messages.

“They see these nice tributes, then they also see these weird sexual, violent comment and imagery,” he said.

“For people who don’t even understand Facebook in the first place, as well as being upsetting and prolonging their grief, it’s confusing.”

He said some of the trolls would “themselves be deserving of sympathy – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tackle them”.

“It’s time to stand up to them, it’s time to either expose them or, if you’re a victim, go to the police.”

The Anti-Social Network will be shown at 2100 GMT on Monday night on BBC Three.