Emily Atack has spoken out about online misogyny she has experienced, saying it “feels like sexual assault”.
The actor, who starred in The Inbetweeners and appeared on I’m A Celebrity, is releasing a new BBC documentary detailing her experience of cyber-flashing, harassment and rape threats.
Atack has said she has felt “lonely, disgusting, embarrassed, ashamed, violated” after receiving thousands of explicit messages every day, with the abuse increasing during lockdown.
“It feels like sexual assault – and I have been sexually assaulted, so I know what that feels like. I feel like I’m being sexually assaulted hundreds of times a day,” the actor told The Times.
“There were so many other things going on. People were dying. People were in care homes having to wave at loved ones through windows. I didn’t feel I could come out and say, ‘Can you stop sending me pictures of your dick?’ So I bottled it up.”
Last year, Millie Bobby Brown revealed she had been bullied online after Stranger Things first aired.
“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” Brown said. “It’s like, ‘What do they hate about me? ‘Cause I don’t know who I am.’ It’s almost like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try being this today.’ [And then they say], ‘Oh, no, I hate that.’ ‘Okay. Forget that. I’m going to try being this today.’ ‘Oh, my God! I hate when you do that.’”
She continued: “Then you just start shutting down because you’re like, ‘Who am I meant to be? Who do they need me to be for them?’”
Emily Atack: Asking For It? airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on January 31 at 9pm.