Jack Monroe: Twitter homophobia “suffocating”

Jack Monroe, food writer and campaigner left Twitter due to homophobic abuse. Ms Monroe, 26, who blogs about poverty for the Guardian, said she found the hateful messages “suffocating” and did not feel the social media website was a “safe place to be”.

UKIP said the abusive Twitter account has been set up by a troll and has called its contents “vile”. The abusive messages were sent from an account purporting to belong to Alex Wood, a former UKIP election candidate. He has vehemently denied being the owner of the offending account.

The abuse came after Ms Monroe wrote a comment piece for the Guardian following Thursday’s election debate in which she praised Green Party leader Natalie Bennett’s stance on immigration and criticised UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s “circus act”. One of the messages, posted using the account name @Alex_WoodUKIP, said: “Your sick form of Lesbianism and militant queerism (sic) is destroying this country. Get out and give us Britain back! #VoteUKIP.”

Responding to the comments Ms Monroe, who is openly gay and campaigns on food rights, tweeted: “God it’s men like this that make me wish I wasn’t a lesbian. Be still my beating heart for the charm and intellect.” In a tweet on April 18th entitled “final word”, she wrote: “Please do not retaliate to the trolls and abusers with abuse. Not in my name. Please, not in my name.” The account also aimed abuse at Guardian columnist Owen Jones. UKIP were quick to denounce the Alex-WoodUKIP Twitter account as a fake and said the party was treating the sentiments expressed on it – which include a link to an overtly racist blog – with “contempt”. A party spokesman said: “UKIP utterly denounce the vile and uncalled-for Twitter troll that is masquerading as Alex Wood. We are very sorry for the offence it has caused and treat it and the sentiments it expresses with the contempt it deserves. “We have been in contact with Twitter and hope that they will delete the account as quickly as possible. So to people like Jack Monroe and Owen Jones we can only feel sympathy, no matter our differences they do not deserve these coarse and unpleasant attacks.”

A 22 year old, who is believed to be the perpetrator of the hate crime, has been arrested and released on bail. The suspect previously robbed a police and avoided jail after a hoax in which he accused a Muslim of assaulting a baby.