For­mer mayor quits so­cial me­dia af­ter on­line abuse

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Robin JENK­INS robin.jenk­[email protected]­

FOR­MER Chel­tenham mayor and pro­lific so­cial me­dia user Klara Sud­bury says she has stopped us­ing the medium af­ter be­ing bul­lied.

Mrs Sud­bury, who is a mem­ber of Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil and Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil, said she re­ceived a “tor­rent of abuse” on so­cial me­dia af­ter com­ment­ing on a body artist ap­pear­ing semi-naked at an event.

The fe­male model was cov­ered in body paint but lit­tle else as part of an event to pro­mote Chel­tenham as ‘The Fes­ti­val Town’ last month.

It was or­gan­ised by Mar­ket­ing Chel­tenham and led Mrs Sud­bury to say on Twit­ter: “Women and girls in this town are do­ing re­ally amaz­ing things in busi­ness, hos­pi­tal­ity, pub­lic life & com­mu­nity ac­tion but can’t al­ways find their voices heard.

“Pro­mot­ing Chel­tenham us­ing a semi-naked woman is un­help­ful.”

Mrs Sud­bury said that led to such a large num­ber of strongly-worded re­sponses on Twit­ter and Face­book that she felt bul­lied and de­cided to come off both medi­ums.

She had pre­vi­ously used Twit­ter in par­tic­u­lar a great deal to raise aware­ness of things she felt were im­por­tant

in Chel­tenham, as well as to help char­i­ta­ble causes.

Speak­ing about her de­ci­sion to take so­cial me­dia out of her life for now, she said: “I had a tor­rent of abuse and have been off for about two weeks.

“I came off be­cause off be­cause of the abuse and be­cause Mar­ket­ing Chel­tenham did noth­ing to help me. I was very up­set.”

She stressed that she did not think that body art was sex­ist but she stood by her com­ment that hav­ing the sem­i­naked body artist at that event had been un­help­ful.

She felt it was not rel­e­vant to the pro­mo­tion of the town and its many fes­ti­vals.

But the con­se­quence of her crit­i­cism was that those who dis­agreed told her in no un­cer­tain terms.

She said: “It’s been a night­mare. One woman bombarded me with about 40 tweets.

“I’ve lost in­ter­est in so­cial me­dia. The only thing I can do is to re­move my­self from the sit­u­a­tion.”

Asked if she might re­turn to so­cial me­dia at some point, she said: “I don’t know. I don’t feel like it at the mo­ment.

“I had nearly 5,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter. I’ve never had any­thing like this be­fore.”

Mar­ket­ing Chel­tenham has been ap­proached for com­ment.

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