Shirley Ballas opened up about the mental toll the death treats and abusive messages take on her, and it is tragic.
With Strictly Come Dancing happening in full swing (pun intended), the competition is picking up with every passing day. From the very moment the 2023 line up was revealed, to the partner lists that were 'leaked' ahead of this season’s first episode, there has been a lot of buzz around it.
Despite the contestants being in the midst of the media limelight, the judges are facing their share of hurdles too. Recently, news came out that one of the judges could be leaving the show soon. On the other hand, the existing judge, particularly Shirley Ballas, has been undergoing major distress and is said to be afraid to leave her home. Here’s what is happening with Shirley Ballas at the moment.
The scary threats
Shirley Ballas is a world-renowned dancer who has earned herself the name ‘Queen of Latin’. And in 2017, she added yet another feather to her cap when she was appointed as the head judge in BBC’s popular Strictly Come Dancing. Shirley has allegedly received a ton of abuse over the last 6 years from trolls online, which is extremely distressing for her. Not just abuse, she has also been subjected to death threats and vicious attacks online, leaving her scared to leave her home, because of safety reasons.
Increased violent and sexual messages
Over the years, there has been an upward climb in terms of the sexual messages and threats she has been receiving. Shirley is currently always on guard, given that she thinks that these trolls could be lurking in dark corners or hiding behind walls. As per The Sun, Shirley revealed the following about how she feels presently.
“I’ve had people draw coffins with me in it with somebody with a spade that said, ‘Die you bitch’.”
The threats have been getting progressively worse that she has even considered quitting the BBC show plenty of times in the last 6 years.
The disturbing details
The vile details of the messages have left Shirley Ballas scared to leave her own house. She said the following about the messages she has been getting on a new ITVX documentary Olivia Attawood vs The Trolls.
“It’s when it is personal about myself and my family and it affects my mental health. I am not just talking about your phone. I am talking about being in public. You worry about those same strange people that write these kinds of messages.”
“This whole experience has made me much more vigilant. I cannot say that I leave my front door unless I am on point. I never relax. It has changed my life completely, I would say.”
The line that is crossed
Fans are angry at Shirley for various reasons. They have even accused her of being partial to male contestants over females, branding her as a sexist.
Sexist or not, the messages that have been coming her way aren’t just about her profession. Shirley showed some of the some of the messages she received on her phone, in the documentary, and it was nothing short of disturbing.
“These are some of the very sexual messages that I get constantly from various different people. Some are so nerve-racking that I can’t show you.”
Shirley also revealed that these messages have been taking a toll on her mentally and that she has decided to take two and a half weeks off from work, given that it makeseries,s her feel emotional and low. She said:
“I’ve enjoyed the series but I’m not going to stand here and lie to you — it took its emotional toll. The names I’ve been called! I couldn’t even repeat them to you.”