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EastEnders spoilers follow.
Ben Mitchell has made a heartbreaking decision to stop being public about his sexuality in EastEnders.
He was one of the victims of a recent homophobic attack – along with Ash Kaur, Stacey Slater, Eve Unwin and his own husband Callum Highway – from Neil and members of the right-wing extremism group,
The attack has deeply shaken Ben, as he froze in the moment because seeing Callum in danger reminded him of his former boyfriend Paul Coker's murder in a similar attack years earlier.
Friday's episode (January 14) centered on Callum's struggle to get Ben to open up about his feelings, though he had a very hard time getting through even with Phil and Kathy's intervention.
Ben turned to Paul's grandmother Pam Coker once again as he admitted he's been afraid ever since the attack. In a shocking moment, Pam said she sometimes questions if Paul would be alive if she hadn't been so supportive of him coming out.
Callum was horrified to overhear the conversation, telling Pam he wouldn't be scared like his attacker wanted him to be and criticised her for trying to "push Ben back in the closet".
Pam warned him that "it only takes one" person to cause problems, so Callum asked her to leave. Before she left, she told Callum that "loving someone also means letting them make their own choices".
"Take care Callum, of the both of you," she told him before leaving.
Because Ben was still torn up over Pam's words, he wouldn't listen to Callum's pleas about there being nothing wrong with living authentically.
He insisted he would no longer live publicly as a gay man in spite of Callum's protests, insisting it might be the only way they could have a future together.
Ben asked: "What's more important? Being proud or being alive?"
Callum was left heartbroken over Ben's decision to go back in the closet publicly as the episode came to a close.
EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on BBC One.
EastEnders has worked with Exit UK, a non-profit network of former far-right members offering help to those who want to leave far-right groups, on Aaron's storyline. If you're concerned about someone who's expressing extremist or hateful views then ACT Early has further information.
If you've been affected by racism and racist hate crime, then organisations including the Equality and Advisory Support Service (EASS), the Monitoring Group, Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) and Stop Hate UK are among those which can offer help and support.
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