Love Island’s Zara McDermott Supports Online Safety Bill



Former Love Island candidate Zara McDermott said “a line must be drawn between free speech and bullying, hate speech and abuse” as she meets with Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage to share his experiences of pornographic revenge.

The reality TV star has supported the government’s online security bill to tackle abuse and cyberbullying.

McDermott, from Essex, previously revealed she was abused by strangers on the streets after being the victim of vengeful pornography at age 14, saying life was getting ‘unbearable’ and that she was considering suicide.

McDermott said she took the nude photo of herself as a way to fit in at school, where she was being bullied at the time.

Intimate footage of her was also released in 2018 as she appeared on the ITV reality show Love Island at the age of 21.

McDermott and Ms Dinenage were joined by former England footballer Fara Williams and young players at the Hackney Laces women’s training ground in Dalston, east London, to discuss the abuse and harassment online.

Read more >> Essex reality star says revenge porn ordeal as a teenager caused her ’10 years of pain’

McDermott said, “I have been subjected to relentless online abuse since I went public in 2018.

“The online safety bill will be fundamental to ensuring that our young people feel properly protected online.

“We as a society do not tolerate physical abuse – so why in the past have we been more tolerant of online abuse? It is important that those behind social media accounts – often anonymous – are held accountable for what they say.

“A line must be drawn between freedom of speech and bullying, hate speech and abuse.

Love Island star and influencer Zara McDermott meets with girls from the Hackney Laces football team to discuss their experiences of online abuse. Image: PA

“Social networks have become a breeding ground for this behavior and, if it is not moderated sooner, there will be significant consequences for the mental health of our young people.

“I think the online security bill is a big step in the right direction. ”

Williams has also been a victim of social media abuse, particularly when she switched from Everton to rival Liverpool in 2012 and is now part of BT’s Hope United campaign, which aims to educate people about the abuse. online.

She said: “The reason I joined Hope United, a team of athletes from the original four nations, was to help unite the nation in the fight against online hate.

“I hope these new laws will make the online world a safer place for everyone, especially girls. If they can prevent young women from being abused and hate online in the future, then the Internet will be a better place. ”

The bill, which was released in May, will impose a new legal duty of care on online businesses to protect their UK users from harm, including those receiving abusive comments, threats and harassment online.

Businesses will be subject to fines or bans if they do not remove abusive posts, enforce their own community standards, and prevent explicit illegal images – including intimate images shared without consent – from circulate on their services.

It came as the family of current Love Island contestant Chloe Burrows said she had been bombarded with abuse and death threats on social media since joining the show.

Ms. Dinenage said: “Women have every right to enjoy social media free from contemptible criminal behavior, threats of violence and harassment.

“Yet today I have heard more powerful accounts of the unacceptable reality facing not only those in the public eye, but all the girls growing up online.

“We owe it to future generations to shape a safer Internet. Our new laws will do this by making the companies that profit so much from the use of their sites by young people responsible for what happens on their platforms.


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