Alex Scott reveals racist trolls left her ‘scared for her life’

Alex Scott has revealed that racist abuse from trolls online left her “scared for her life”.

The 37-year-old former Arsenal player is regularly on TV as a sports commentator and became the first female pundit on a Sky Sports Super Sunday in 2018.

She joined the BBC World Cup commentary line-up in the same year.

However, being a Black woman talking about sports on TV opened the door to a torrent of abuse from online trolls.

Scott said the abuse, on top of other pressures, put her in a bad place after presenting at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In a new interview with The Times, she said: “I can slip into dark places. And once I slip into dark places, I don’t stop.

“I loved being out at the Olympics, but afterwards I realised the mad pressure that I’d put on myself to take everything – the trolling, the racism, Lord Digby Jones.”

Scott referred to July 2021, when former Labour minister and ex-house of Lords member Digby Jones criticised her accent and asked if someone could give her elocution lessons.

At the time, the presenter hit back and declared she is “working class and proud”.

She told the newspaper: “I went into the Olympics knowing the scrutiny that I would be under once again from all the trolls.

Alex Scott speaks during the England Women’s Team Celebration at Trafalgar Square on August 01, 2022 (Getty Images)
Alex Scott speaks during the England Women’s Team Celebration at Trafalgar Square on August 01, 2022 (Getty Images)

“But then to open Twitter and see that from him, I was just like, ‘I’m not going to be silent any more. I’ve had enough’. So I just tweeted and went to bed.”

Scott added that she received “racist and sexist messages on social media” regularly, containing anything from “overt discrimination to suggestions that I only got my job because I’m ticking some mythical ‘diversity’ box”.

In the early summer of 2020, the abuse worsened after she was named as the new host of A Question of Sport to replace Sue Barker.

However, the information was inaccurate and the job went to Paddy McGuinness.

Scott said she received death threats over the announcement, adding: “That was at a level that I was scared for my life.

“I was scared to leave my house to even go to the shop. That’s the stage we’d got to – that, oh gosh, someone Black might be replacing a national treasure could cause such hatred.”

She sought therapy after the abuse, but added that her childhood experiences that involved domestic abuse made her realise there was “no wonder I ended up in therapy”.

Scott’s forthcoming memoir, How (Not) To Be Strong, details her father’s physical violence against her mother, as well as against her and her brother, Ronnie.

Recalling how people would praise her and Ronnie as being “well behaved” children when they sat quietly in public, she said: “But we sat there in fear. We did as we were told because we knew what would happen to us later if she didn’t.”

Scott’s memoir is set to be published on 29 September.