Strictly Come Dancing star to lead investigation for BBC Morning Live

Morning Live's Michelle Ackerley and Gethin Jones
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing favourite Zara McDermott is poised to spearhead an investigation for BBC Morning Live. The former Love Island star and documentary filmmaker will explore the troubling issue of online trolling in a special report set to feature on the show this week.

The comprehensive film, created in collaboration with The Open University as part of a series of specials, is scheduled for broadcast on Morning Live on Thursday, July 11 at 9:30am on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer. Having endured her own battles with online harassment, Zara stands among the nearly one-quarter of UK adults who have faced trolling.

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In her upcoming piece for BBC Morning Live, Zara uncovers that her tormentors are ordinary individuals such as nurses, teachers, and even parents. The probe delves into the phenomenon of Everyday Extremism, suggesting that the seemingly innocuous act of sharing slightly negative content can contribute to the spread of hateful speech online.

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Zara McDermott -Credit:BBC

Zara's inquiry examines how quickly certain online discussions can devolve into vitriol. She shared her insights, saying: "I had a perception in my head that a troll was someone who sat in a dark room in a laptop all day spewing out hateful comments online. But actually these people are people with normal jobs, with friends, with children."

During the documentary, the 27-year-old engages with Professor Kesi Mahendran from The Open University, who sheds light on how Everyday Extremism can stem from seemingly harmless memes and jokes that gain momentum and intensify rapidly online, reports Wales Online.

BBC Morning Live presenters Helen Skelton and Gethin Jones -Credit:BBC
BBC Morning Live presenters Helen Skelton and Gethin Jones -Credit:BBC

Professor Kesi Mahendran commented: "The key moment is when you communicate hostility to another person, and quite often you've done it by using something that may not actually be true and you're putting it out there because it damages that person or that group's reputation."

BBC Morning Live continues weekdays at 9:30am on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.