TV star Rylan Clark-Neal has said he quit Twitter because of the homophobic abuse he received over the scheduling of his new show.
Clark-Neal will present ITV game show Babushka in the slot usually filled by The Chase while the Bradley Walsh quiz show is on its annual break.
— Babushka (@Babushka) April 20, 2017
But the former X Factor contestant said he has faced a torrent of abuse online from fans who think his show is a permanent replacement and will not return to Twitter until the show has started its run.
He told Loose Women: “I was getting tweets saying ‘I can’t believe The Chase has been axed for you, Bradley Walsh is amazing, Rylan you’re this’, and then I’ve had people going ‘I can’t believe you’re the new presenter of The Chase’.
— Loose Women (@loosewomen) April 28, 2017
“It’s a new Chinese whispers that got completely out of control and ultimately I’ve come off Twitter purely because of that.
“It’s not because I can’t handle it but because I felt like I had gone back five years, when I was out there to be judged on The X Factor and I don’t need that, the homophobia, I don’t need that in my life.
“I’ve come off Twitter because the show is not about me, it’s not about me in the slightest, I’m just the host and I’m going to let the show go on air and people can make their mind up and then I will go back on Twitter because then the show speaks for itself.”
Rylan said The Chase goes on a break every year and will return to the slot as normal, but he believes online reports have stirred up the controversy.
He told the show: “I have had a bit of a drama this week. We knew going in the 5pm slot, which is an amazing slot and everyone at the channel has seen it and they really do love it, we knew The Chase fans would be like ‘I can’t believe The Chase isn’t on’ which is fine. I’m not annoyed at them.
“What I am annoyed about and, I will say it, is I’m annoyed at the online media. What they have done with their headlines is say ‘Rylan’s axed The Chase to pave way for Babushka’.”
Babushka begins on Monday at 5pm on ITV.