Former Arsenal footballer Alex Scott is in the midst of a successful broadcast career and has a new role as a presenter for BBC's A Question of Sport. However, she is also dealing with the dark side of being a public figure. Scott recently revealed that she has received a large number of death and rape threats on social media.
The former footballer broke the news during a conversation with Clara Amfo on the This City podcast, revealing she has been a target of online trolls for years. The insults and threats increased in frequency after she replaced the fired Sue Barker on A Question of Sport. Scott said that the threats became so frequent that she became frightened to live alone.
"It was like every day, every day when I was coming off I was just getting this wave and this wave," Scott said. "And then like I said, then there were death threats and rape threats. I live on my own and I'm like, I can't even. Who can I even speak to about this? I don't want my mum to worry. I don't want, like how I said people to feel like I can't handle myself or I can't handle this business because what?"
When reports surfaced that Scott will replace Barker, trolls responded by saying that the BBC was "box-ticking" due to the footballer being of Irish and Jamaican descent. They also accused the BBC of "age-ism" after the broadcaster fired the 64-year-old Barker. "What should be a really exciting time for Alex has been marred by these awful trolls," a source told The Sun. "The abuse she’s received across Twitter and other social media platforms has been disgusting. Thousands of people have been supportive but it's the negative ones Alex will remember. She's only human."
Scott revealed during her conversation with Amfo that she turned to alcohol during her darkest days, but she has since changed how she responds. Now she is using her voice to "fight for change." Scott said that she knows she has a platform and that it's her responsibility to use it the right way.
As evidence of this change, Scott recently seemingly responded to her critics with a poem she wrote for International Women's Day 2018. The poem discussed her love of football, the color of her skin and her retirement from the sport. She also mentioned that some people think she is "ticking a box" after seeing her talk about the sport on TV.
"Some want to say I'm ticking a box, but that's not me," Scott wrote in her poem. "Football is football, and that is what I see. Hi, hello, I'm Alex Scott, and you know what, Football is me."