Alex Scott has confessed to being left in a "dark place" after racist trolls targeted her work as a presenter of Tokyo Olympics coverage.
The 37-year-old retired footballer said it particularly stung when she was criticised by Lord Digby Jones — then a member of the House of Lords — for her pronunciation of certain words.
In an interview with The Times, Scott discussed the abuse she faced at the hands of her father as a child and the backlash she has consistently received throughout her presenting career.
She said that some of the worst and most shocking abuse came about when she was given the role as a main presenter on the BBC's coverage of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
“I can slip into dark places. And once I slip into dark places, I don’t stop," said Scott.
She added: "I loved being out at the Olympics, but afterwards I realised the mad pressure that I’d put on myself to take everything – the trolling, the racism, Lord Digby Jones."
Lord Jones took aim at Scott in a tweet stating that she "spoils a good presentational job" by dropping the letter G at the end of some words.
The presenter responded with a tweet of her own, defiantly saying she is proud of her working-class roots in East London and how she overcame obstacles.
Reflecting on that night now, Scott said: "I went into the Olympics knowing the scrutiny that I would be under once again from all the trolls.
"But then to open Twitter and see that from him, I was just like: ‘I’m not going to be silent any more. I’ve had enough'. So I just tweeted and went to bed."
Watch: Alex Scott responds to criticism of her accent at Olympics
Scott said the next morning saw her inbox filled with as much support and positivity as abuse, with people sharing their own stories of class discrimination.
Another flashpoint for Scott was when she was wrongly rumoured to be replacing Sue Barker as the host of A Question of Sport — a role eventually given to Paddy McGuinness — and the abuse got so bad Scott turned to drink.
She said: "That was at a level that I was scared for my life. I was scared to leave my house to even go to the shop.
"That’s the stage that we’d got to – that, oh my gosh, someone black might be replacing a national treasure could cause such hatred.”
Scott said she sought therapy after the Question of Sport backlash, but has pursued a number of different methods to deal with the abuse, as well as her past trauma.
Her memoir, How (Not) To Be Strong, is due to be released this month and allowed her to reckon with the struggles she has faced on her route to success.
Since retiring from professional football in 2018 after 140 appearances for the England team, Scott has turned to presenting and has become a fixture on the BBC, including as Dan Walker's replacement on weekly magazine show Football Focus.
In 2019, she competed on Strictly Come Dancing with professional partner Neil Jones — finishing in fifth place.
Watch: Alex Scott calls out clubs who refused to host Women's Euros