Rachel Riley calls Twitter ‘cesspit of hate’ in response to ‘unpleasant’ social media comments

·2-min read

Rachel Riley has criticised Twitter as a “cesspit of hate” in response to negative comments she’s received in the past.

TheCountdown star tore into the social media platform during Friday’s episode (16 July).

When host Anne Robinson announced that Twitter was celebrating its 14th anniversary, Riley sounded audibly disgusted.

Robinson then asked Riley why she made the sound, to which she said: “If you could have gone back and strangled it as a child, I think it might have been better for humanity.”

Riley, elaborating on her point, said: “Susie [Dent, Countdown’s dictionary corner expert] and I have different experiences on Twitter. Susie has people skipping around and people showing her pictures of candy floss and nice things, and I have a different Twitter feed.

“It just creates bubbles and, for certain groups of people, those bubbles aren’t very pleasant.”

When Robinson told her “you don’t have to be on Twitter,” Riley replied: “You don’t, but it started out really nice. It started out as a way to talk about Manchester United or to help people with their Maths homework, and [now] it’s become a bit of a cesspit of hate.”

Riley found herself at the centre of a Twitter backlash in 2019.

In May, she told a high court judge that a tweet by Laura Murray, an aide of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn harmed her reputation, and led to a concerted campaign to get her fired from Countdown.

Rachel Riley tore into Twitter and its users on ‘Countdown’ (Channel 4)
Rachel Riley tore into Twitter and its users on ‘Countdown’ (Channel 4)

She said she had received “a great deal of abuse” after commenting on the news about Corbyn getting hit by eggs thrown by a Brexit supporter while visiting Finsbury Park mosque in March 2019.

Riley had shared a screenshot of an unrelated tweet sent by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, reading: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”

She accompanied the retweet with the words: “Good advice.”

In response, Murray wrote: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer. Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi. This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.”

Riley later said she was being “sarcastic”.

She said in a statement: “The response to the defendant’s libel of me was a concerted attack on me and my career,. My career is in the public domain. A concerted campaign was initiated to get me fired from my job, as being someone who had advocated violence.”

Countdown airs weekdays on Channel 4.

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