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Online Abuse Of Black Blogger Puts Spotlight On Irish Racism

We don’t like to think of ourselves as a racist nation but after recent events, namely the racist attack on an Afghan family in Dublin back in May, it seems the truth is less palatable. And this week, a British, now Irish-based blogger, mum, and plus-sized model Michelle-Marie faced a catastrophic wave of racial abuse after she was awarded ownership of the popular @Ireland Twitter account; which has over 40,000 followers. Each week a new person is appointed responsibility of the account for a period of one week; with the aim of giving followers an insight into different aspects of Irish life and culture. Marie – a positive body advocate originally from Oxford – struggled with eating disorders and body disorders for much of her life and documents her battle for self-love by openly sharing her stories through social media. She and her partner moved to Ireland a number of years ago to start a family. Marie took charge of the @Ireland Twitter account yesterday and highlighted some of the abuse she receives for advocating positive relationships with your body; regardless of size, shape, or colour. It was shortly after this when the unprovoked racial abuse began:

Then attention was drawn to Michelle’s skin colour, sparking a heated debate over her nationality and why she deserves control over the @Ireland account:

Despite the trolling, many were also quick to support Michelle with words of encouragement – 

@ireland You’re as welcome here as anyone. Truly sorry for the disgusting racism and ignorance you’re experiencing.

— Leanne Woodfull (@LeanneWoodfull) August 22, 2016

The accounts that have trolled Marie have since been temporarily suspended by Twitter for hate crime, and it is suspected that strict action will be taken from now on to prevent further abuse of it’s users.

Marie took a brief hiatus from the account but has since returned and has said she is appreciative of the support she has received.  Marie is the founder of Body Pride, Irelands first event celebrating body positivity, which will take place this December (read more about Body Pride 2016 here).

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