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Charlotte Church on dealing with “hardcore” online abuse: “My skin’s pretty thick”

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While Twitter is often a wonderful platform for sharing and connecting in a positive way, it's often also a terrible format for debate, with rational conversations giving way to 140-character slanging matches and those who relish the chance to wind up a person they've never met (not to mention the toxic handful of users spewing hateful bile online under the cover of anonymity).

So one might assume that Charlotte Church, as someone who's been in the public eye for years, would steer away from the platform and the celebrity-baiting trolls that often lurk within. But the singer says she's had a lifetime of “hardcore, unnecessary abuse” and it has “just morphed into something different” with social media.

In an interview with The Guardian, Church – who's recently been getting stick for supporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but voting Plaid Cymru in the Welsh Assembly elections – explains she often confronts her detractors.

“It gets to me sometimes, you know, if I’ve had a day of fighting trolls on Twitter. If someone’s having a go at me, and they’re completely wrong or misinformed, first of all I try to challenge them in the most polite way I possibly can – where have you got this information? This is untrue, that is untrue, whatever – and then, if they continue, then I feel like I’ve got to defend myself,” she says.

Charlotte Church at the Launch of The Programme For Festival Of Voice Cardiff 2016

Church at the launch of Cardiff's Festival Of Voice in February

“People say: ‘Oh, just leave it, it’s fine.’ But it’s not. It’s not all right. You’ve got to stand up for yourself. People have been taking the piss out of me for the majority of my life now, so my skin’s pretty thick. I just try to be as honest and forthcoming as I can about stuff. There are loads of people who don’t like me from years ago, because they thought I was a chav or whatever, so it has just morphed into something different. I’ve always had loads of really hardcore, unnecessary abuse.”

Church, 30, will this month be starring in a project she co-created called The Last Mermaid, which is a new angle on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Little Mermaid, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Explaining that the new version veers away from the glossy Disney story, she said the team had brought a feminist slant to the production: “Often in fairy tales, you’ve got all these evil women: evil stepmothers, evil sisters... So we thought, ‘Fuck that, that’s just part of the old patriarchal world where the people who wrote fairy tales were men, so let’s not do that.’”

The full interview can be found at theguardian.com

Images: Getty / Rex Features

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