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‘Gangsters’ threat against daily columnist prompts police action

Laura WaddellA man “brandishing connections to gangsters” threatened a daily newspaper columnist – prompting police to act.

Laura Waddell, who writes for The Scotsman, has opened up on the sexist abuse she has recently received on social media.

Laura, pictured, revealed two police officers went to her house last week over threats she had been sent via Twitter.

She went public about the incident in her column for the Edinburgh-based daily yesterday.

Laura wrote: “Last week two police officers were in my living room looking over threatening messages I had been sent late at night on Twitter from a man brandishing connections to gangsters.

“Although a tiny fraction of what politicians are sent, being a writer online means I sometimes receive abuse. (And as a publisher, a minority of submitters turn nasty when rejected.)

“Last week at the UN Generation Equality Forum, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok were among platforms pledging to make changes to keep women safe online. Efforts to this point have been underwhelming on all fronts.

“Hearing nothing back about the majority of posts I report, I try to ignore the noise, making liberal use of block tools. But sometimes the line of intimidation or personal harassment is crossed.”

Laura went on to highlight the “misogynist” nature of the abuse she receives.

She added: “Abusers need to exert self-control and take responsibility for their own actions, and those with the backbone to stand up to peers exhibiting violent behaviour towards women are doing right by everyone.

“Institutional change is essential. But this is the thing that gives me most hope: societal change, however glacial, as a result of a few more people each time saying enough is enough.”

Speaking to HTFP, Laura said police had “had a word” with the abuser and that she had received “good support” from The Scotsman and campaign group Women in Journalism.

She added: “I don’t have the time or energy to pursue it much further, but as a point of principle I felt it was important to take a stand on this occasion.”