Former England footballer Stan Collymore has quit Twitter as his campaign to have action taken against ‘trolls’ who are racially abusing a number of people on the social media site continues to gain momentum.
Sports radio station TalkSPORT, who Collymore regularly broadcasts for, announced on Wednesday night that they will no longer be mentioning the social media site or allowing their presenters to read out tweets sent in by listeners –something they have utilised to their benefit in the past.
Collymore had retweeted a number of racially abusive tweets to all of his 509,000-plus followers, with a number of fake or anonymous accounts messaging the former striker with hate mail after Collymore accused Liverpool’s Luis Suarez of diving for a penalty during last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
The 43-year-old has since deactivated his account and removed himself from the site, amid calls for Twitter to do more in their attempts to take action against these so-called ‘trolls’ that take pleasure in abusing people from behind a screen and keyboard.
Speaking to Sky News about his abuse, Collymore said: “I've no problem with honestly held opinion. If people think I'm an idiot, they're more than welcome to say. They're also more than welcome, within the laws of the United Kingdom, to bring up my past.
“That is genuine use of freedom of speech. But freedom of speech means that if anyone walks past me now and calls me some of the things, or makes some of the threats (that have been made to me on Twitter), they would be arrested.
“The police are banging their heads against a brick wall, having to make requests to get reports and profiles processed. Six weeks later I'm still waiting.
“That means Twitter abuse operates in a bubble, a vacuum.”
Collymore has admitted his frustration with the lack of action against the site, claiming that a number of young users have no idea of the legal consequences that comes with the abuse he is receiving. He also believes that a number of financial factors is behind Twitter’s failure to act to what he sees as an adequate response.
“I believe that the number of active (Twitter) users is monetised, so they would much rather have a billion active users who can say whatever the hell they like, rather than spend money on algorithms, scripts, age verification, tying an account to a phone number, or a credit card, which would of course decrease the numbers,” he claimed.
The matter is nothing new for Collymore, who has previously been abused for the colour of his skin on Twitter.
He had previously posted on his account: “In the last 24 hours I've been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why?
“I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.
“Several Police forces have been fantastic. Twitter haven't. Dismayed.”
He also admitted that he has been in direct contact with Staffordshire Police to report the abuse, and criticised Twitter for their lack of action in comparison.
He wrote: “Staffordshire Police coming, again. Just the 5th time. Pity twitter aren't interested.
“Police take all complaints seriously, whoever it is. I've waited 6 weeks for twitter to provide information to Police. Yet to respond.”
Collymore’s decision comes after TalkSPORT announced they will support the presenter by protesting against the social media site.
A statement released on Wednesday read: “TalkSPORT’S chief executive, Scott Taunton has today written to Twitter to express the station’s dissatisfaction with Twitter’s apparent lack of support of presenter Stan Collymore following a series of abusive messages posted to the presenter on Twitter this weekend.
“In addition, the station is to stop promoting Twitter and its Twitter accounts until the station feels that Twitter is responding appropriately. No Twitter mentions will appear on air on talkSPORT, in print in SPORT Magazine or on talkSPORT’s digital platforms.
“Collymore received a series of offensive messages – including death threats and racists tweets - that were posted after he suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suarez cheated by diving during last Saturday's match against Aston Villa. While a number of the tweets are subject to police investigation, Collymore accuses Twitter of not doing enough to combat the abuse.”