Olympic Diving Sweetheart Tom Daley Harassed and Threatened on Twitter
Tom Daley, the sex symbol of London 2012 Olympic Diving, is dealing with more than just the pressure of The Games.
He’s dealing with death threats.
After the British men’s team finished in a disappointing fourth place in the 10-meter Synchronized Diving competition on Monday (just behind the U.S.), 18-year-old
beefcake sweetheart Tom Daley received threatening, homophobic tweets from both the general public and fellow athletes.
The dude is 18 years old, he’s diving at the most competitive level the world can offer with men old enough to be his father, and he recently lost his father to brain cancer.
And then there’s this he has to deal with:
Local police gave a warning to Reece Messer, the shortsighted genius behind the @Rileyy_69 tweets. And while my boy Tom now walks with the Police Federation who are “making it up as they go,” protecting him from the difficult-to-deal-with Twitter threat, the Olympic diver also has to contend with shade thrown his way from Welsh soccer player Daniel Thomas (not competing in the Olympics) who tweeted:
The fuck?! For the record, neither Tom Daley nor his diving partner (equally a heart throb) Pete Waterfield have discussed their sexuality to the press, and Tom Daley is rumored to be dating U.S. diver Kassidy Cook.
Thomas’ Twitter account was promptly deleted as his team Port Talbot FC distanced itself from the wildly offensive tweet, saying that Thomas himself was the victim of a prank gone wrong after someone got a hold of his phone and published the Tweet. Thomas is currently under team suspension while Port Talbot investigates the “incident.”
I call bullshit. I call bullshit all over this bullshit. It’s not enough that we scrutinize Olympic athletes on their physical abilities as if we ourselves were capable of doing any of what they do, but then to hurl insults like these is blatantly indefensible.
While the Police Federation seeks guidance and legislation for instances of online-abuse spilled over into the RL, I think it’s more a societal problem that permits and endorses this type of behavior.
What say you? Is free speech free speech, or is there something to be said for taking Twitter threats seriously?
Catch Tom diving next in the 10-meter Platform competition on Friday, Aug. 10.