Michelle Joy Phelps: Social Media Abuse Is Never Acceptable
Social media gives people a voice, but sadly a small minority use the various platforms to abuse.
I wrote an article a year so ago on the good, the bad and the downright ugly side of social media, specifically around the abuse Michelle Joy Phelps gets. Judging by the worrying article in this week’s Boxing News, not much has changed, if anything it has got worse, much worse.
Phelps was interviewed by Terry Dooley for the ever-excellent publication, and during the conversation, she highlighted some of the comments she has had to endure.
Jokes and references to rape, sexual abuse to less disturbing but still deeply hurtful comments about her looks and weight.
I can remember seeing a tweet from someone mocking how Phelps looks, when I pulled him up for it, his reply was its no big deal, maybe not to you, but spare a thought for the person on the receiving end of the comments.
Only this week I have seen references to what she wears, somehow justifies the abuse, no it doesn’t. The thread went on saying as she works in the sport it’s somehow acceptable and expected, and that quite unbelievably that Phelps is attention-seeking and this doesn’t happen, well it clearly does.
Phelps isn’t the only woman in boxing to suffer, Sky presenter Anna Woolhouse has revealed in the past what she has had to endure.
Trolls hide behind their keyboards and think it’s funny, it plainly isn’t and zero thought is given to the people that the comments are aimed at.
As Woolhouse said at the time, there should be consequences, abuse is abuse, be it online or not, nobody should be allowed to get away with it and more importantly, nobody should have to put up with it.
I have no doubt that both Phelps and Woolhouse will accept and understand that certain elements of criticism is part of the course, but there is a world of difference between fair constructive critique and personal attacks.
Abuse is never acceptable, and hopefully, the article in Boxing News will make people think before they tweet.
Nobody forces anyone to watch Phelps on her Behind the Gloves outlet, there is plenty of choice for alternative content, just go somewhere else.
We live in a world of free speech, evidently, a few do not deserve that basic right.