Emily Atack and Fearne Cotton have opened up about being sexually harassed online after discussing the topic in a new podcast.
The actress and comedian, 33, appeared on the latest episode of the 41-year-old presenter’s Happy Place where they discussed her upcoming BBC documentary Emily Atack: Asking for It?.
Atack said: “I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I wake up and feel like I can kind of conquer anything and go f**k you. I’m going to be who I want to be.”
She continued: “And there are some days I wake up and I go I don’t know if I can take this anymore. Sexual harassment has terrible, terrible repercussions on your mental health and on your brain.”
The Inbetweeners and Celebrity Juice star has revealed on Instagram that moments after posting on her account about the podcast episode she received a video from a man masturbating.
Captioning images from the clip – with sections she had blurred out – she wrote: “This will now continue to happen throughout the day. All day. Everyday.”
Cotton also shared to her own Instagram that she had similarly received “disturbing” messages and “explicit” photos.
She wrote: “Emily posted yesterday that moments after the episode went live she received an influx of messages and explicit photos from men that were incredibly disturbing.
“I even received one from a lovely chap who said he wanted to c** on my feet. This is not just happening to Emily, or people in the public eye; in Emily’s new documentary she spoke to school girls who were receiving messages, not from boys at school but from grown men.”
The mother-of-two added: “I find it very challenging to hear these stories as I feel sick about it, full of rage but also terrified. I’m glad Emily is exploring this all too common transgression.”
A study from 2020 revealed that 76% of girls aged 12 to 18 years old had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men, with the government now working on legislation to make ‘cyberflashing’ a criminal offence.
Speaking to the BBC, Atack said that making the documentary had forced her to revisit past trauma, for which she has undergone therapy.
She said: “The things I’ve been through, that I’ve normalised my whole life, the more I talk about them, the more I realise I shouldn’t have had to put up with them – then or today.”
The star also told The Times today that the online abuse – which has worsened since the pandemic – was “like I’m being sexually assaulted hundreds of times a day”.
She added that it made her feel “lonely, disgusting, embarrassed, ashamed, violated. It feels like sexual assault – and I have been sexually assaulted, so I know what that feels like.”
Watch: Passengers urged to help sexual harassment victims on Tube and buses