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Journalist sent rape threats and ‘creepy’ abuse after TV appearances

Geraldine ScottA regional daily journalist has hit back at dozens of “creepy” men who have sent her abuse and even rape threats after she has made television appearances.

Geri Scott, the Yorkshire Post’s Westminster correspondent, says such incidents are getting more frequent, with men tracking down her private social media profiles in order to send her abuse.

Speaking to HTFP, she revealed she had received 52 Instagram follow requests from men after appearing on the Andrew Marr Show recently.

Geri, pictured, shared one such example on her public Twitter account after she appeared on The Papers on BBC News on Monday night.

The man in question had sent her a private message on Facebook calling her a “girl” and saying she was “talking sh**e”.

Geri told HTFP: “Part of my job is to occasionally go on the TV or radio and represent the YP, and I’ve realised that when it is TV the abuse afterwards is worse.

“Admittedly the message I tweeted about was pretty low level, I know many people get it much worse and I have before myself, but I tweeted because I’m pretty sick and tired of people searching for my personal accounts to do this.

“This man had found my personal Facebook just to send me this message to tell me I was ‘sh**e’ at my job. In what other industry does that happen? He didn’t even tell me what in particular was ‘shite’ so I could engage in a discussion, which I’m always happy to do.

“But there are public, easily accessible ways to get in contact with me either on Twitter or via email, although I’d prefer if they were slightly more professional if they were doing that.

“If it’s not abuse then it tends to be more on the creepy side, I’ve noticed the requests to follow my private Instagram also shoot up after I’ve been on TV.”

Geri went on to discuss other incidents of abuse she has encountered in recent weeks.

Speaking yesterday, she added: “Some people have said it isn’t because I’m a woman but any woman who does things in public feels the undertones of sexism in these messages, I’ve had them before where I’ve been told I need to be raped to sort me out.

“This particular one called me, a grown woman, ‘girl’ along with the abusive message which I’d argue has at least a tinge of misogyny to it. But more than anything, I’ve spoken to male colleagues who don’t get half as much flack – though of course they do get some – and it never comes across quite so angry.

“As I said on Twitter, I think there’s something about feeling threatened by young women who are knowledgable about their specialism.

“It is getting more frequent, and I don’t tweet about it often because I don’t want to be self-indulgent, but I do think people should be aware. The feedback though has been overwhelmingly positive, which I’m really grateful for.”

Geri’s comments come after the issue of print journalists appearing more on television was discussed during a Society of Editors Conference debate on Tuesday evening.

Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan told the debate it was a “significant change and not necessarily a good one”, while JPIMedia Scotland’s interim editorial director Joy Yates said some of her journalists had “welcomed the opportunity”.

Northern Echo editor Karl Holbrook also told a debate about online abuse, held on Monday evening as part of the Conference, how it was “always” female reporters in his team who faced the worst abuse.