Mary Beard became one of the latest notable names to be hounded online by an internet troll, who sent sexually abusive Tweets to the Cambridge University classics professor. Oliver Rawlings was responsible for the offensive Tweet, but took back his comments when Prof. Beard retweeted the comment and declared that she will not be “terrorised” by online abuse, with a particular comment threatening to tell the troll's mother about the incident prompting Rawlings to retreat and apologise. Both the original tweet and the retweet have been deleted.

Mary Beard
Mary Beard wont stand for trolling

As re-printed by The Telegraph, in his original tweet Rawlings calls the classicist and occasional television presenter a “filthy old slut,” a comment that Beard then retweeted so that he could face an onslaught from Beard's fans, which he duly received. Thanks to a particular comment that read “Mary, if you would like to send a copy [of] @Rawlings153's tweet to his mother, Joanne, I'd be happy to give you the postal address,” Rawlings deleted his comment minutes later and apologised profusely for his comments. He wrote on his Twitter feed; “I sincerely apologise for my trolling. I was wrong and very rude. Hope this can be forgotten and forgiven,” adding, "I feel this had been a good lesson for me. Thanks 4 showing me the error of my ways."

Rawlings, a privately educated student currently studying at at Nottingham University, was responding to an appearance by Prof Beard on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 programme on Monday (29 July). She was speaking to Vine to promote her BBC 2 programme Caligula, about the tyrannical Ancient Roman emperor of the same name. After receiving an apology, backing from fans and now all-round appraisals from critics and audiences for her BBC 2 documentary, we assume that Prof Beard is over her latest run-in with an internet troll.

This isn't the first time Beard has been subjected to online bullying attempts, and the Cambridge lecturer had announced her plans to expose any online trolls she comes into contact with after she received a torrent of online abuse following an appearance on the BBC's Question Time earlier this year. At the time, she said; "Women are too often told just to shut up and don't make a fuss and it'll go away. But not this time.”

What do you think? Was Professor Beard right to name and shame the troll or did she go too far? Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.

Mary Beard Terry Wogan
Professor Beard with Terry Wogan at the 2013 Oldie Awards