Davina McCall reflects on backlash after controversial Sarah Everard tweet: ‘I was frightened to go to the supermarket’

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Davina McCall has opened up about the backlash she faced over a controversial tweet following the murder of Sarah Everard in 2021.

The 55-year-old tweeted at the time: “Female abduction/murder is extremely rare. Yes we should all be vigilant when out alone. But this level of fear-mongering isn’t healthy.”

She continued: “And men’s mental health is an issue as well. Calling all men out as dangerous is bad for our sons, brothers, partners.”

The Masked Singer UK panellist’s tweet sparked backlash from some of her followers, who criticised her for saying that female murder “is extremely rare.”

Everard, 33, was murdered by off-duty police officer Wayne Couzens in March 2021.

One of the replies critical of McCall’s tweet read: “When a woman is murdered at the hands of a man every 2.5 days it is not the time to pacify a fragile male ego. This is not a good message Davina. We all know it’s not ALL men. But it IS men.”

Speaking on Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO podcast, McCall said that “cancel culture” is the thing that makes her most angry about society.

The former Big Brother presenter told the podcast host that she was on the “receiving end” of “cancel culture” after she tweeted about Sarah Everard’s murder, when “things were getting really nasty online about men”.

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She clarified that the tweet addressed “death from abduction”, and not the “other awful things that happen women” like domestic violence.

McCall told the Dragons’ Den star she had written a tweet telling her followers “we don’t need to completely panic about that situation”.

The presenter explained that her son Chester, 16, inspired the tweet because he “was really cut up about it and he didn’t know how to behave”.

“He felt like the enemy suddenly and I was trying to explain to him that he wasn’t,” she added. “We just have to not start blaming all men.”

“I said, ‘We’ve got brothers and husbands and kids that are worried and they want to help, let’s not demonise all men,’ and my God, I got 200,000 likes but I didn’t see any of those, I just saw the 10,000 comments asking for me be murdered or burned at the stake or, you know, [saying] I’m a woman hater or I’m a #notallmen person and I don’t understand anything about domestic violence.”

Sarah Everard was raped and killed as she walked home in south London in March last year (PA Media)
Sarah Everard was raped and killed as she walked home in south London in March last year (PA Media)

McCall said she thought that it “wasn’t the moment” to “attack all men”, and that people needed to “come at life together”.

“Segregating everybody into separate groups, separatist groups, I think it’s anti-society, we need to all work together and alienating people, an entire sex, is not a good idea,” the presenter continued.

McCall told Bartlett: “You need to have our back and we need to have your back. I know lots of men that really changed their behaviour after hearing about how frightened women are in the streets and you know, if they’re walking towards a woman, just go, ‘It’s ok,’ or cross over the road and walk on the other side and maybe they didn’t do that before.”

“That’s a good thing, we need to commend that rather than, you know, [say] ‘Well if we weren’t frightened of you in the first place, you wouldn’t have to do that’. I just think there’s got to be a more open conversation.”

Opening up on how the backlash affected her, McCall said: “I didn’t take it down, I went to bed for a weekend and I was ashamed and frightened to go shopping in my local supermarket.

“I didn’t want to go out in town because I felt like everybody had read it and hated me and then I read quite a few articles afterwards where they were saying, ‘No, completely understand where she was coming from, she was right’ and I was like ‘Oh, oh right’ and so I kept the comment up there because I do stand by it.”

McCall did admit that she did make a “mistake” at the time, adding: “The thing that I should apologise for is that I posted it three days, four days after she’d died and it was timing, my timing was s*** and it was way too soon.”

Saying that it was a “bad experience” at the time, she concluded that she learnt from it and “won’t do it again”.

McCall reprised her role as a panellist on The Masked Singer UK on 1 January and hosts a podcast with her partner Michael Douglas called Making The Cut.