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Saturday 24 August 2019

'I was actually sick to my stomach' - Actor Rory Cowan determined to track down 'quick and vicious' Twitter trolls

Rory Cowan Photo: David Conachy
Rory Cowan Photo: David Conachy
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Actor Rory Cowan has described abuse he received on social media network Twitter as “quick and vicious”.

The much-loved Dubliner said he received abusive tweets from several accounts after he attended the Crumlin Ward Walk at the Crumlin Children’s Hospital before Christmas.

“It was the strangest thing at how quick and vicious it happened,” he told RTE Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme.

“I replied to a tweet and before I knew it, I was being accused of being a molester.

“People were saying ‘here Rory, leave the kids alone’, ‘Rory will fix it’ and ‘I’d take my kid out of hospital if it was being met with celebs like you’.”

Cowan, who plays Rory Brown in the hit RTE show Mrs Brown’s Boys, described his shock at the torrent of abuse.

He said he normally reacts to critical tweets like “water off a duck’s back”, but was surprised at how offensive the messages were.

“I should have ignored them. There were a few accounts and it seems they were all feeding each other.

“In the end, I thought I had to get on to my solicitor about this, it was taking on a life of its own.

“I was actually sick to my stomach,” he continued.

“I couldn’t believe what was coming in and so quick and all because of one response I have to a tweet. It was like a kick in the stomach.”

Cowan said his solicitor is now dealing with the matter and they are on a mission to find the people behind the accounts before they report the issue to the gardai.

“This is something that’s completely new to me, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“There’s no point in involving the guards if we can’t find out who these people are. I don’t want to go down to the police and say, ‘I’m a victim’, you don’t know where this is coming from, it could be from the UK or abroad.”

He said Twitter should be a “fun” thing, but now he thinks he will hold back from engaging with people on the network.

“I’m not going to engage anymore. I’ll certainly think very carefully about responding, or even what I’m writing myself.

“It should be no problem but unfortunately, there are people out there who’ve accused me of the vilest things.

“I will stay on it, I like it. When you’ve nothing to do you go on Twitter,” he laughed.

“If you’re waiting on your TV programmes or the tea to happen.

“But I won’t be engaging as much with people anymore,” he added.

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