ENTERTAINMENT
07/09/2018 12:19 BST

Channel 4 To Tackle Online Abuse With 'Thought-Provoking Ad Break'

'We’ve partnered with some of our advertisers to show real abuse aimed at real people in their ads.'

Channel 4 is tackling the prominent issue of online abuse in the ad breaks of tonight’s ‘Gogglebox’, by interspersing the adverts with abusive tweets aimed at the people featured in them.

The broadcaster will show “real messages” about the people in the adverts, for products such as McCain’s chips, Maltesers and Nationwide, who have all been targeted because of their race, disability or sexuality.

They said: “At Channel 4, we stand up for diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees, and one of the dark sides of this is abuse posted online.

“To highlight this disturbing trend, we’ve partnered with some of our advertisers to show examples of real abuse received online about real people in their ads. It may shock you.”

Channel 4
Actress Samantha Renke, in a still from Channel 4's campaign

The first advert featured is for Maltesers, and stars actress Samantha Renke, who uses a wheelchair due to osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone condition.

She has previously spoken out about the abuse she’s received online, calling for cyberbullying to be taken more seriously.

In a vlog for HuffPost UK, she said: “I was absolutely horrified by [the abusive messages she received]. Ultimately I’m a human being and I remember when I first saw it my eyes filled up with tears, and I was on a train with nobody around.

“I felt violated, I felt like someone had personally come into my space… particularly because they had tagged my name into it, they knew what they were doing.”

She added: “You would never go up to someone in the street… and go, ‘you make me sick, you freakshow’, so why should that be tolerated online?”

Watch Channel 4’s “thought-provoking ad break” video - which will be shown during tonight’s ’Gogglebox, at 9pm - below: