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Former Love Island star, Marcel Somerville, has opened up about the "horrible" racist abuse his 11-month-old son receives online. The reality TV star and his fiancé, Rebecca Vieira, welcomed their first child, Roman, in January but have since received thousands of messages from trolls on social media.
Speaking on the Let's Talk About It Podcast, Marcel said: "When Roman was born we were getting horrible stuff being sent. People said 'oh another slave has been born'. They were putting up pictures of Roman with nooses around his neck."
The 35-year-old, who is also a former member of noughties boyband, Blazin' Squad, thinks his time on the hit reality dating show made him a target for racist abuse. "I was the first fully black person to be on Love Island," he said, "So I think from that and from being quite popular on the show it led to people wanting to be a bit horrible and send messages and all those kind of things."
He added, "I’ve got 100,000 people who follow me on Instagram because they don’t like me and they just want to do racist stuff."
Previously, Marcel's partner Rebecca spoke to the Mirror about the hate her family has received online. "I’m both scared and angry at the same time that people think it’s OK to be racist in this day and age," she said.
"Most people have been really supportive and have sent lovely messages to me and Marcel but there have been a few horrible ones. On Saturday I received some really disturbing direct messages from one vile troll in particular who told me my son, Roman, was ugly," Rebecca added, before explaining that despite blocking the troll they continued to create new accounts to send her hateful messages.
"How many times am I gonna have to receive these kinds of messages before something is done about it?" she questioned.
Earlier this year, Instagram announced the rollout of a new feature, which enables users to prevent any blocked accounts from creating new accounts to contact them on. In a statement explaining the feature, the social media platform said: "We're making it harder for someone who you’ve already blocked from contacting you again through a new account. With this feature, whenever you decide to block someone on Instagram, you’ll have the option to both block their account and preemptively block new accounts that person may create."
The feature has been well received by Instagram users, who welcomed the app's updated harassment policies and action to tackle trolling.
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