Phantom star launches Twitter rant at fan over online criticism
A THIN-skinned West End leading lady launched an extraordinary Twitter tirade against a theatre fan who made a flippant remark criticising her performance.
Sofia Escobar, 27, took great offence at a passing comment made on the social networking website by a 48-year-old housewife about her rendition of the part of Christine in the current London production of Phantom of The Opera.
The row started when the fan, who posts thoughts about theatre on Twitter anonymously, sent a message to a friend discussing the musical which ended: “Ah but U know I can't stand Sofia…”
The housewife has fewer than 200 people following her on Twitter, and her Tweet could only have been found by Escobar if she or an associate searched for her own name.
The next day the actress responded out of the blue by sending the woman an apparently light-hearted message reading: “It's ok cause I can't stand you either ;) x.”
However, Escobar went on to accuse the fan of being a cyber-bully, writing to her more than 3,800 Twitter followers: “Just because I'm a performer that gives people the right to insult me without me being able to defend myself? I don't think so.
“My job doesn't make me super human and respect goes down well no matter what profession people have. And I won't be insulted and not stand up for myself. Just because im a performer it doesn't give you a free pass to bullying.”
She added: “I take criticism very well. But one thing is to criticise and one v different is to be offensive, disrespectful and mean. To me ‘I don't like her portrayal' sounds v dif [different] to ‘I can't stand her’.”
Her boyfriend, the Spanish actor Gonzalo Ramos, also joined in, writing: “Lack of taste is ok, lack of education is just sad, something to think about cause u've already got some years behind u :).”
The housewife, whose Twitter user name is @SHkiyolove, apologised to the singer but made it clear she was bemused by the attention she had attracted.
She wrote to Escobar: “Is that it? My remark to a friend offended u so much? Then I'm sorry. Of course I didn't meam (sic) u urself. I don't even know u.”
She added: “Now, when I said to a friend ‘I can't stand Sofia’ about @sofia_escobar, I of course meant her perf [performance] in poto [Phantom of The Opera], not herself. Isn't it obvious?”
Portuguese-born Escobar first played the part of Christine as an understudy while in the second year of her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
She has been the leading lady in the current production of Phantom at Her Majesty’s Theatre since September 2010, performing six shows a week.
The fan, who lives in Twickenham, south-west London but has not been named, said the actress should have been able to take the criticism.
“How can you get angry over such a stupid comment? It’s laughable,” she told the Evening Standard.
"I can understand actors hating anything negative written about them, but to take it on a personal level like this? And against a mere punter like myself who only expressed her honest opinion as a theatre lover?
“She has accused me of cyber-bullying but many people have now said to me that they think she is the one who is the cyber-bully.”
A spokesman for the show declined to comment.