Stars putting trolls in their place

Spy News,
Publish Date
Thursday, 6 April 2017, 11:43PM
Photos / Instagram
Photos / Instagram

Achieving a certain level of fame often means attracting a certain level of vitriol from online trolls.

And while some stars opt to turn a blind eye to what is said about them online, others have made a point to address the abuse they’ve faced head on.

We round up just a few of the celebs who have attempted to shut the trolls down.

Max Key

As the son of former Prime Minister John Key, Max Key dealt with bullying for most of his teenage years. And trolls have been having a field day ever since Key Jr decided to forge a music career.

However, he seems to have a level head in dealing with such behaviour.

When George FM hired Key as a DJ early last year, a torrent of abuse was hurled at him online. But he and the station decided to channel their inner Jimmy Kimmel and film their own 'Mean Tweets' edition, with Key reading out the messages sent to him, whilst poking fun at them.

Key also addressed online bullying at a NetSafe conference last year, during which he revealed he received death threats twice a week.

"I don't want any sympathy for the bullying I get," he said.

"I want to raise awareness for the kids who are getting bullied that don't have people around to support them like I do."


A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀M A X K E Y (@maxkey_) on May 22, 2016 at 1:07am PDT


Verity Johnson

Newshub journalist Verity Johnson took a swipe at online bullies while working as the social media presenter on Paul Henry's breakfast show last year.

In a segment talking about how she dealt with trolls, Johnson said she had fielded insults about her weight, her intelligence, even her knees, from viewers of the show.

Johnson cheerfully took down each of the insults, including the highly original "U R fat and dumb."

"Well, at least I’ve mastered full words," she said sweetly in response.



Julian and Fatima Savea

All Blacks and their significant others also often find themselves in the trolls’ firing lines, but Julian Savea's wife, Fatima, decided late last year she wasn’t having it.

When a series of nasty comments were posted on a story Spy ran about the rugby power couple, Fatima vented her anger in a series of short Instagram videos.

"You guys don't know me and Julian," she told the online bullies.

"You only know what we show you. You don't know our lives or what we go through, so for people to judge based on what is written about us or what you see is pretty pathetic.

"And then I see women, girls commenting horrible, nasty things, I feel like we should be empowering one another rather than bringing each other down."


Day out with these two 💙

A post shared by Fatima Savea (@_timasavea) on Mar 22, 2017 at 5:45pm PDT


Lizzie Marvelly

Musician and writer Lizzie Marvelly has waged a long campaign against online bullying.

She addressed trolls directly in a column for the Herald last year, in which she blasted them for "detailing all of the ways in which I am wrong, worthless, stupid, racist, misandrist, promiscuous, undeserving, unqualified, too much this, and not enough that".

Marvelly went on to say: "The fact that you hide behind a screen does not absolve you from the consequences of your actions. ‘Troll’ is a quaint word, reminiscent of fairy tales. It does not appropriately describe you. You are bullies, plain and simple. And you should be ashamed of yourselves."

She also wrote that she had better things to do with her time than to engage with online bullies – that is until they went after her father...




Teuila Blakely

Actress Teuila Blakely has also proven herself unafraid of taking on bullies.

One of her more famous takedowns followed a photo she posted to Facebook of herself and old friend Konrad Hurrell at the airport.

When hundreds of nasty messages on the video referenced the sex tape scandal the duo had found themselves in two years earlier, Blakely labelled the actions as "goddamn persecution".

She posted a video to Facebook from her Sydney hotel slamming the “slut shamers”.

“On my way over [to Sydney], it was really nice because I ran into my friend Konrad and I hadn't seen him for months, so it was actually really cool,” she said.

"And I just posted a photo of such because he's my friend ... and then everyone lost their damn motherf***ing minds.

"And basically, you know, it's not even like bullying or f***ing trolling, it's goddamn persecution.

"Anyway, I'm just here relaxing and letting you know and I'm still approximately giving, um, zero amount of f***s.”


A post shared by Teuila Blakely (@teuilablakely) on Mar 20, 2017 at 10:54pm PDT


Brodie Kane

Breakfast’s sports presenter Brodie Kane has also dealt with her own fair share of trolls.

Sometimes, she uses humour to brush the nasty comments aside, such as when one Facebook user said he hoped she had lots of cats, "because anybody she was in a relationship with would end up putting her out of their misery".

"Jeez Andy, that’s a bit harsh," Kane wrote in response. "But you’ll be pleased to know I love cats and already have one, so things are looking up."


Sometimes it's just too good not to engage... #socialmedia #whatsbugginbrodie #catlady #workperks

A post shared by Brodie Kane (@brodiejeankane) on Mar 1, 2016 at 11:09am PST


But Kane has shone a serious spotlight on the issue too.

The death of a Palmerston North girl last year following online bullying compelled Kane to share her own experiences with bullies and her anger about the issue.

A blog she wrote about the issue included some of the nastier comments she had received that week, such as "I think she used to be a he."

"In one day, a number of grown adults had taken the time to go on their computers and write this stuff,” Kane said.

"If adults are so freely trolling, how do we teach our kids that it's not OK?"


A post shared by Brodie Kane (@brodiejeankane) on Oct 20, 2016 at 12:59pm PDT


Toni Street and Mike Hosking

Brodie Kane’s TVNZ colleagues, Toni Street and Mike Hosking, have also come in for a bit of bullying from viewers.

The Seven Sharp hosts have previously talked about some of the comments they’ve received on the show.

Amongst other things, Hosking was labelled "arrogant" and a “miserable git”, while Street was told she was “frumpy” and should “shut her piehole”.

Street admitted that every now and then one of the comments would hurt.

"I still get the odd one where I think 'oh, that really sucks.'"

When she asked Hosking how he felt about the online abuse, he said: "I couldn’t care less. [They’re] a bunch of losers."


Back in the hot seat on @sevensharptvnz in 15 minutes!

A post shared by Toni Street (@tonimstreet) on Feb 6, 2017 at 9:43pm PST