TV personality Charlotte Dawson has blamed vicious online "trolls" for her hospitalisation last week (ends02Sep12), insisting she was bombarded by death threats on Twitter.com.
The Australia's Next Top Model judge was admitted to a hospital in Sydney in the early hours of Thursday morning (30Aug12) after a number of nasty posts urged her to commit suicide.
She signed off her response with the chilling message, "Hope this ends the misery..." and "You win x".
The New Zealand-born star has now spoken about her ordeal for the first time in an interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes, and she puts her fragile mental state down to the messages she received on the microblogging website.
She says, "I've never had death threats of this ferocity. I've never had a campaign of this ferocity. It just triggered that feeling of helplessness when the trolls got to me. They got the better of me and they won.''
Dawson's ordeal has sparked debate in Australia over the accountability of anonymous online users and Paul Fletcher, chairman of political party the Federal Coalition's online safety working group, says, "No Australian should ever have to go through something like this. Unfortunately, cyber bullying, including through social media services such as Twitter and Facebook is a growing social problem.
"The Coalition has been consulting extensively on whether changes to current laws are required, with a particular focus on cyber bullying in children and young people.
"The sad experience of Charlotte Dawson is another indicator of the importance of a close look at the laws in this area."
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