Shirley Ballas reveals ‘terrifying’ battle with online trolls as she receives hate mail

Strictly star Shirley Ballas’ war with online trolls is far from over as the Head Judge has revealed she’s been bombarded with hate mail at the theatre she’s currently performing at.

Shirley, 59, took to Instagram to address the “bullying” she’s faced in recent weeks – culminating in her receiving hate mail whilst performing in the Darlington pantomime.

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“As we know I had quite a lot of bullying on Strictly last series and my Instagram inbox was full of horrific and horrendous messages,” she told her Instagram followers.

“Now it’s gone a step further and I’ve had a hand delivered message addressed to me, with not so nice comments or words.

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“I do find it quite upsetting when I’ve been out there performing and then I read something like this from someone who doesn’t even know me.”

As Head Judge, Shirley is often responsible for sending one of the celebrity contestants home on Strictly Come Dancing. And the decision has, on occasion, led to a build-up of death threats, according to Shirley.

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Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said, “I’ve had more online bullying this time than I’ve had in any series of Strictly, particularly direct messaging, more so from the younger fans if their chosen one gets sent away.

“It’s, ‘I hate you, die, go kill yourself’ – those types of messages in my direct message box.”

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For Shirley, these kind of violent messages raise much bigger concerns. “My concern is not so much for myself, it’s for the younger people out there… if they do that kind of bullying online, what do they do in the workplace, what do they do at the school? So my concern is always for the younger generation,” she explained.

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But, the dancer – who recently had her breast implants removed for health reasons – said she’s trying not to let the bullies get to her.

She added, “Anyone out there who receives awful messages or hate mail, the issue is the other person’s not ours.

“My message is, be strong going into 2020 and really love yourself. Don’t be phased by the bullies.”

And she’s got partner, Daniel Taylor, to thank for his ongoing encouragement and support. He said, “I’m always saying to Shirley to try and ignore it if you can but sometimes it’s very, very difficult to sort of look away from it, some of it gets quite personal and it’s sad.”