Jo Whiley: Abuse from Drivetime hate mob left me in tears
RADIO 2 DJ Jo Whiley has talked for the first time about how abuse from critics and listeners left her in tears and scared to leave home.
Describing her ordeal in today’s Event magazine, the presenter says the torrent of abuse she suffered last year after becoming co-host of the Drivetime show with Simon Mayo was ‘the toughest thing I’ve had to endure’.
Whiley, pictured right in her Event photoshoot, says: ‘There was this wall of resistance to me from a very vocal bunch of people.
‘It was hurtful, insulting. It made me look at who I am, not just as a broadcaster, but as a person. It made me reassess everything.
‘I have only ever wanted to be judged for my work, not my sex.’
The mother-of-four’s appointment last year was intended by the BBC to redress gender inequality at Radio 2, but it led to vicious trolling on social media – particularly from women. ‘It was relentless, every hour of every day,’ Whiley says. ‘Invariably the criticism was from women. It was the most disappointing thing in the world.’
Month after month of abuse took a savage toll. ‘I was tearful quite a lot of the time. Some days it was hard to walk out of my front door, let alone present a radio show.’
Whiley, 53, who now has a Radio 2 evening slot, admits she found it hard to adjust to the Drivetime role. ‘I didn’t know what my voice should be,’ she says. ‘I was trying to pretend to be a Drivetime DJ when I should have just been myself.’