Strictly Come Dancing trolls: Which stars have been targeted and how did they react?

Layton Williams is the latest celebrity to discuss the dark side of the Strictly spotlight - which others stars have been trolled for being on the show?

Layton Williams is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2023. (BBC)
Layton Williams has asked Strictly Come Dancing viewers to 'be kind' on social media. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Layton Williams is the latest star of the show to reveal he as been targeted by trolls on social media.

The Sex Education star's triumphant performance in week two has been marred after he confessed he had been "overwhelmed" by "low key trolling" and appealed to online abusers to "be kind".

The actor's comments come not long after head judge Shirley Ballas confessed that at times she is scared to leave the house after receiving sexually explicit threats on social media from trolls.

The BBC dance show is all about family entertainment and can give celebrity contestant's careers a huge boost.

But unfortunately there is a dark side to being in the Strictly spotlight, which can mean being subjected to a torrent of unpleasant abuse online.

These are some of the Strictly stars who have borne the brunt of social media trolling in recent years.

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas - Strictly Come Dancing 2023. (BBC)
Head Shirley Ballas considered quitting Strictly because of the trolling. (BBC)

Strictly's head judge confessed she almost quit the show over the abuse she has suffered from online trolls

The 63-year-old former Latin dance champion recently told Oliva Attwood in her ITV2 documentary about online trolling that the "abhorrent" sexually explicit messages and death threats she receives make her scared to go out in public.

Ballas said: "I am not just talking about your phone. I am talking about being in public. You worry about those same strange people that write these kind of messages. Are they lurking in dark corners? Are they hiding behind walls when you go somewhere?

"This whole experience has made me much more vigilant. I cannot say that I leave my front door unless I am on point. I never relax. It has changed my life completely I would say."

The judge publicly addressed some of the online trolls that had been targeting her in 2022 over her scoring and decisions on the show.

She has since revealed she considered quitting Strictly altogether and has now handed over control of her social media to an assistant to distance herself from the trolls.

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe on Strictly Come Dancing
Johannes Radebe was sent homophobic messages for dancing in a same-sex couple. (BBC)

Professional dancer Johannes Radebe has revealed he was subjected to homophobia from trolls when he was part of the show's first all-male same-sex paring in 2021, with Bake Off star John Whaite.

South African star Radebe told Loose Women: “I did have a glimpse because you know what, there is good out there which was nice to see.

“But there was also backlash and it was just not nice to hear things like, ‘Do not come back to Africa because of who you are’ and stuff like that.”

Richie Anderson

Strictly Come Dancing Richie Anderson & Giovanni Pernice
Richie Anderson said he was able to ignore the trolling he received for being on Strictly. (BBC)

The One Show's Richie Anderson admitted he was also targeted by trolls for being part of a same-sex pairing with Giovanni Pernice in 2022.

But the Radio 2 star was defiant, saying: “I don’t pay much attention to trolls online. At the end of the day, I’m doing something that I’ve always wanted to do and enjoying myself.

Jayde Adams

Jayde Adams in Strictly
Jayde Adams stood up to the social media trolls over their comments on her appearance. (BBC)

Comedian Jayde Adams stood up to the trolls that tried to body-shame her over her size when she took part in the show in 2022.

She hit back: "If there was something that wrong with me, I wouldn’t be able to dance six hours every day and lift Karen.

"Because of how stupid this logic is, I suspect their issues aren’t to do with me at all. But women always get it in the neck don’t they.

"I’m not ignoring it, I’m addressing it. The more I show resilience to it, the more other people will be able to and that’s useful I think."

Ellie Simmonds

Strictly Come Dancing Nikita Kuzmin & Ellie Simmonds
Ellie Simmonds admitted she was trolled from the moment she was announced to be taking part in Strictly. (BBC)

Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds revealed she was targeted by trolls from the moment she was announced as a contestant on the show in 2022.

She revealed: "I’ve had it already. Some people have said, ‘How’s the dwarf going to dance?’ It’s sad and it does get to you.”

Dan Walker

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 Dan Walker, Nadiya Bychkova
Dan Walker received abuse for making it to the quarter final of Strictly. (BBC)

News reader Dan Walker was clearly popular with many Strictly viewers after making it all the way to the quarter-final in 2021, despite not being one of the highest-scoring dancers, which meant he was kept in the show through the public vote.

But the former BBC Breakfast host revealed there was also a legion of trolls who targeted him with hateful messages for staying in the contest week after week.

Walker wrote on social media: "Thank you to everyone who is sending lovely messages & enjoying us having fun on #Strictly and to the few who say… “Just leave” “Aren’t you ashamed?” “You’re a disgrace” “It’s a fix” (which I don’t get) or “Who is voting for them?” IT’S A TV SHOW! See you in the 1/4 finals."

Will Mellor

Will Mellor on Strictly
Will Mellor was most upset by claims he was a Strictly cheat, denying he had dance training. (BBC)

Former Hollyoaks star Will Mellor admitted the trolls got him when he competed in Strictly in 2022 after they accused him of cheating by being a trained dancer.

The Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps actor said: I didn't even go to drama school. I wing everything. I've been winging acting for 46 years. I think people just like to find fault.

"[Someone was saying] I shouldn't be allowed to be in the show because after that first dance you can see I'm obviously a trained dancer, which is absolute nonsense. But you know what it's like on social media.

"People are being positive and someone likes to throw a negative curveball and that's the one that stands out."

Ugo Monye

Ugo Monye and Motsi Mabuse on Strictly 2021
Ugo Monye called out Strictly trolls for breaking the law. (BBC)

Rugby player Ugo Monye competed in the show in 2021 and called out the "criminal" behaviour of online trolls targeting him and other stars of Strictly.

Trolls can be prosecuted under harassment law and malicious communication law if they are targeting hateful abuse at an individual.

Monye said: "All of us on Strictly sign up to be critiqued by the judges when we perform, but what no one signs up to abuse.

"It’s vile, and criminal actually. We saw it with Tilly [Ramsay], and unfortunately Oti {Mabuse] had it on Instagram, and Judi [Love] too, whether it be racist abuse or fat shaming."

Alex Scott

Kevin Clifton has had to stand in for Alex Scott's partner Neil Jones (Credit: BBC)
Alex Scott said her social media response became more positive after Strictly. (BBC)

Retired footballer and TV presenter has a positive story about social media trolling as a result of appearing on Strictly Come Dancing.

The BBC sport and The One Show presenter competed in Strictly in 2019 and saw a change to the type of messages she was receiving on social media.

Scott admitted she had previously been the target of racist and sexist abuse online and even been sent death threats.

But she said: "The support I’m receiving on the back of Strictly is super positive. It’s nice and refreshing. For them to message that kind of stuff rather than putting me down is really nice."

Watch: Nigel Harman discusses topping the Strictly leader board in week one