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Modern Family's Sarah Hyland responds to trolls with a powerful statement

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The Modern Family star had a strong message for those hurling abuse at the star in the wake of the tragic death of her cousin.

Sarah Hyland is still reeling from the death of her 14-year-old cousin and the serious injuries sustained by his father Bryan, Hyland’s uncle, after an alleged drunk driving accident over the weekend.

But that hasn’t stopped social media trolls from targeting the Modern Family star with online abuse. After Hyland shared the news of her teenage cousin Trevor Canaday’s tragic death over the weekend, the actress had to use her Twitter to address some of the “negative thoughts or opinions” that had been levelled at her and her family. The abuse has since reached such an untenable level that the actress has decided to take a break from social media.

“I’d like to ask those who have negative thoughts or opinions about the tragedy that happened to my family to keep them to themselves,” Hyland tweeted. “You don’t know all the details. And how dare you attack when a beautiful life has been lost.” 

Hyland first shared the news of Canaday’s death on Saturday in an Instagram story. “This is my 14-year-old cousin Trevor,” she wrote. “Yesterday he was killed by a drunk driver. My uncle is still in the hospital in need of more surgeries.”

The 28-year-old actress added that the man allegedly behind the wheel of the other car had two previous DUI incidents to his name and, according to Hyland, attempted to flee after hitting the Canaday’s vehicle.

She also shared the link to a GoFundMe page established to help the Canaday family – Trevor’s mom Becky and sisters Tessa and Zoee – cover the medical bills for Bryan’s recovery. The original goal of $10,000 (£7,826) was exceeded quickly, and the family established a new goal of $25,000 (£19,566). Currently, the funds raised are in excess of $35,550 (£27,823). 

Sarah Hyland on Modern Family

“Trevor was a funny, smart, innovative, athletic, goofy kid and he was so loved. His memory will live on in many ways,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Please help us do this for the family now to help ease their suffering away from money to focus on healing emotionally.”

But despite Hyland’s pleas, trolls continued to target her with messages. Most of their comments took issue with Hyland sharing the crowdfunding appeal rather than covering the funds herself.

“It is strange of you to promote a crowdfunding page when you only donated $1,000 yourself (whilst being worth 9 million). Most of the people donating are working 9-5s and it’s weird that you’re asking for money from them. If you want to keep it private, don’t tweet about it,” one comment read.

“You only have yourself to blame for this backlash, unless there’s some massive detail we’re all missing,” another tweet read. “Asking complete strangers to contribute to the funeral expenses of your own family member which you could easily pay for yourself is low-class and unconscionable.” Dozens more comments were left on her Instagram account.  

The online abuse has only grown in the days since Hyland first shared the news about her family’s loss. Today, she tweeted that she was taking a break from social media after all the online abuse she had endured.

“You guys finally did it,” she wrote. “Your horrible negative ignorant words have broken me. Happy? Staying offline for a while.”

Fans tweeted messages of support at Sarah after her announcement, encouraging her to take this time away to “focus on your family and heal”.

Hyland added that her social media break won’t last too long. She promised to return to Twitter later this week. But regardless, no-one should have to endure this kind of abuse in the wake of a tragedy. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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