Tom Daley Reveals Effects Online ‘Vile Homophobic Slurs’ Had on His Mental Health

In his new book Coming Up For Air, out today, Olympic diver Tom Daley reveals the negative effects of homophobic slurs he would get on Instagram.

In a column for iNewsUK he wrote: I was subjected to loads of homophobic abuse online. After the Olympics in 2016, a Christian group tweeted me telling me the way that I lived my personal life was why Rio had not gone well. Some days, I had it from all angles.

@tomdaleyI FINISHED MY OLYMPIC CARDIGAN! ##Tokyo ##Tokyo2020 ##Olympics♬ original sound – Tom Daley

Now, I try to never read too much into the responses to my posts on social media, I post what I want to as I feel that is most representative of what I am doing at the time and hope that I never see the negative stuff, that it surrounds me like water in the pool and simply slips off me without me even really noticing.

The premise of social media and the way people can say negative things is bizarre. At times it can feel quite hollow, and it is always true that the one negative comment will stick much more than 100 positive ones.

@tomdaleyI MADE ANOTHER MEDAL COSY ON THE TRAIN…slightly different technique but similar outcome! ##StitchStitchBish♬ Swish Swish – Katy Perry

I have 3 million followers on Instagram, and so every time I post a picture I feel as though I’m standing on a stage and giving everyone the opportunity to shout whether they like what I am wearing/doing or not.

Often in these scenarios, some people shout out stuff like, ‘I hate your trousers’, ‘why the hell are you doing that?’ or ‘you will go to hell’.

I know that most of the people who share negative comments like this on social media would never dare to say them to my face, and that they’re likely only compensating for a lack of confidence in themselves. I’ve come to understand that social media almost acts as a barrier that people can hide behind when they are letting out their darkest thoughts.

Now, I tweet or I post on Instagram and I walk away. I think social media has given a platform for people to say awful things to someone else, and there be absolutely no recourse. I have learned not to care about what some faceless random or bot on the internet thinks.

 

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