Age of the Online Threat: Twitter User Threatens Emily Atack's Life15 November 2012
An internet troll who threatened to kill The Inbetweeners star Emily Atack is being hunted by police. The actress - who played Charlotte Hinchcliffe in the Channel 4 comedy - reported a Twitter user who claimed they would slice her to bits and make her "bleed to death."
The user 'jeffjon56599388' has since been named as Jeff Jones, who told Atack in one of his many tweets, "Emily its time 4 u to leave this world, ur last hours wnt be pleasant, but it will achieve the objective." Remaining pretty calm about the whole thing, the actress reported the issue to police before telling Jones "Prison for you." Somewhat unnervingly, he tweeted back, "Prison for me...death and heaven for you." Afterwards, the actress urged her 84,000 Twitter followers to report the troll, her fans hit back - in their droves. One ranted, "To the vile creature sending @ematack abuse! Be a man and show ur face!"
The account has since been deleted, though Bedfordshire Police confirmed it was investigating the incident. These things are usually sorted out pretty quickly, with authorities now easily able to trace back messages to specific locations. Atack - who is currently shooting the British action flick Get Lucky - thanked fans for their cooperation on the subject, tweeting, "Hi all, thanks for your nice tweets! Police are on the case. X"
Unfortunately 2012 seems to have thrown up plenty of Twitter death threat stories, most notably, the flurry of malicious messages received by the television presenter Caroline Flack over her relationship with the One Direction star Harry Styles. According to The Sun newspaper, Flack, 32, was left distraught after a stream of sick messages including one that read, "If caroline flack flirts with my boyfriend (Harry) I will personally hunt her down and shoot her." Clearly these shadowy Twitter users are complete lunatics, though it's enough to unnerve even the most hard-nosed celebrity. Caroline had tried to warn off the users tweeting, "Hi One Direction fans! To clarify. I'm close friends with Harry... he's one of the nicest people I know. I don't deserve death threats."
Stateside, death threats were something regularly received by Selena Gomez, the girlfriend of Justin Bieber until just recently. The hatred reached its zenith in mid 2011 with a jealous hate campaign hit Twitter. "Stay away from Justin paedophile," wrote one fan (She's one year older than Justin), whole another somewhat bizarrely threatened, "I'm gonna kill ya in the night underneath your smell bed." A further message read, "Selena Gomez is dangerously close to a long, slow painful death." Again, the work of lunatics, though enough to unsettle Gomez.