Online Trolling

I recently had a disagreement with an online troll which has since led me to write this post.


I've never understood why people feel the need to leave negative comments online. Surely if you've got nothing nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all? But sadly in today's society, that is not the case.


Whilst I know the best thing to do is usually ignore a hate comment - or report the user - I couldn't help but reply...

Clipart image of a masked man trolling behind a screen, with various social media logos floating around beside him

I'm fully aware that if you "put yourself out there" like I do in my blog work, you become subject to public opinion. However, that does not give you a free pass to insult or offend someone.


I recently featured in the 2021 Census campaign run by the LADbible group - a social platform followed by millions of people.


When asked to film a video response to the question:


"What do you want to be remembered for?"


I replied:


"Not letting my disability hold me back"

(whilst using my wheelchair to spin around in my garden)


A few days later, I noticed one of the most popular comments under this video was from a guy who said:

Screenshot of the message: "the only thing holding someone in a wheelchair back is the seatbelt"

(For the purpose of not generating anymore hate, I have covered this person's username and photo)


Whilst I know this isn't the worst comment in the world, it frustrated me that so many other people were still 'liking' it and fuelling the idea that this type of response is ok.


I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humour, as I often take the mick out of myself. However, when it's a stranger making ignorant comments about the disabled community - I couldn't help but feel annoyed.


The worst part about it was that this same person had also DM'd me privately.

Screenshot of the message in my DM saying "it was only banter in case you thought I was being a dick". Ross replies: "banter is all well and good until it's at the expense of somebody else. Nobody likes a troll and hopefully you'll think twice before posting something like that again"
Troll replies: "there's going to be hundreds of cunts that will bully you and not care, grow a pair of balls and stop getting mad over pointless internet shit". Ross replies: "the fact you're in my DM's trying to justify it is unbelievable. People with disability have to deal with these negative attitudes all the time and its not ok. There was no need for your comment, end of."
Troll replies: "I'm not justifying it, I'm just saying on the internet you have to stop caring about what people say. I know what I said wasn't exactly nice but it was meant as a joke, you need to be able to laugh at yourself". Ross replies: "Just because you CAN write nasty things online, doesn't mean that it's ok to do so and that we should just stop caring about it. Grow up"

The fact he knows it wasn't nice, yet tries to justify it by saying "that's just what happens on the internet" - is not acceptable.


Although the original comment was not directly aimed at me (just my video response), I couldn't believe he had also gone to the efforts of messaging me privately. This isn't the first negative comment I have received online, and I know it certainly won't be the last.


The reason I'm sharing this conversation today is because I think it's an important issue to highlight. Many disabled people are faced with online hate (disguised as "jokes") everyday, and this is something that needs to change.

My friend Shelby has recently started a petition in order to educate children on disabilities within schools. The only way we're going to cut down on these negative attitudes is by educating the young, and improving the representation of disabled adults within the media.


Shelby's petition has already gained over 4,000+ signatures and I would love it if you could also get involved by supporting the campaign here.