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Newham councillor receives extreme racial abuse on Twitter

SPEAKING UP: Seyi Akiwowo

A NEWHAM councillor has opened up about becoming the target of hundreds of racist internet trolls on Twitter.

Seyi Akiwowo, who represents Forest Gate North Ward, reported a wave of online derogatory comments to police after a video of her speaking about immigration at the European Parliament went viral.

The 25-year-old Londoner has been subjected to hundreds of racial and misogynistic slurs, since the video was shared by writer Danielle Abena Scott-Haughton on Tuesday.

Speaking on the shocking online abuse to Newham Recorder Akiwowo said, “People said I should get lynched, that an STD should kill me. I have received disgusting comments – but some lovely people have said encouraging and amazing things.”

She added: “To make it clear, it is not about silencing people or censorship. It is a step too far when it is racial hate, threats and slurs. They are doing it to make me angry.”

The online abuse began after writer Scott-Haughton – also known on Twitter as Daniellè DASH – shared a video of Ms Akiwowo where she praised the Newham councillor’s response to audience members at the European Youth Hearings who booed her speech on how countries should deal with the after-effects of colonisation.

Attaching a link to the video, Scott-Haughton tweeted: “Awesome @seyiakiwowo at the European Youth Event in the European Parliament. Check out the boos and her flawless response. Perfect. Timely.”

The video has since been liked 1,000 and retweeted 768 times, receiving a large number of positive comments.

However, both women began to receive hate messages soon after and things “went a bit weird about 4-5pm” according to Cllr Akiwowo.

“I went to sleep and woke up to 60 emails to 100 YouTube messages,” she said.

Akiwowo said she belives it is “a reponsibility” of social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube “to make sure it is a safe place” for users.

“I am having to read it all over and over again to report each comment.”

She added: “It is not just about me though. It is about highlighting what is going on, it is about everyone.

“So I try to get it into perspective. It is about standing up to the bullies.”

A spokesman for Twitter said the company does not comment on individual accounts “for privacy and security reasons” but more information can be found under its hateful conduct policy.

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