UK Politics

US sports anchor Gina Miller abused in Brexit mix up

Gina Miller, the sports broadcaster, and Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the Brexit case Image copyright Gina Miller/PA
Image caption Gina Miller and Gina Miller - the one on the left knows all about offensive linesmen and loaded bases

A US sports presenter has been flooded with online abuse after being mistaken for Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Texas-based namesake Gina Miller was initially bemused to be branded a traitor who had "ruined our democracy".

She said she received several hundreds of messages, including death threats, adding: "It was absolutely vitriolic".

It came after the High Court ruled that Theresa May must seek Parliamentary approval before invoking Article 50 to start formal EU exit negotiations.

Image copyright Twitter

London's Gina Miller, an investment manager and philanthropist, was the lead claimant in the case and was widely photographed and quoted in media coverage of the decision.

Brexit court case: Who is Gina Miller?

The US-based Ms Miller said she first became aware of the London investment manager's legal moves in October, after a few people mixed up the two women's Twitter addresses.

But she said Thursday's "crazy" Brexit backlash took her completely by surprise.

"On Twitter, on Facebook - there were some f-bombs, lots of people saying I was a traitor. 'You're ruining our democracy', 'F-off and move to France' - and much more'.

She added: "I even had an email. In the subject box it said: 'I hope you die, I sincerely hope you get cancer and die'."

Having visited the UK on previous occasions, Ms Miller said: "It was in overwhelming contrast to the very proper, polite British behaviour I'd seen before."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption London-based Gina Miller said on Thursday she "will not let other people bring me down"

The London-based Ms Miller, 51, who was born in Guyana but grew up in Britain, has not answered those critics who have targeted her on social media.

But speaking outside the High Court on Thursday, she said she was aware of being called a "black widow spider" and had suffered abuse from those in favour of leaving the EU.

She said: "That nickname is wrong on so many levels. But I do not and will not let other people bring me down. I believe that level of abuse means I am doing something right for investors."

She did not respond to the BBC's request for comment.

The American Gina Miller, who is also a multi-media consultant with Smith Geiger, a market research and strategy group, said: "If I were counselling her, I'd suggest she be a little bit more overt [on social media].

"You have to expect some sort of reaction - and it's better to take ownership of it."

Image copyright Gina Miller
Image caption Gina Miller the broadcaster said many people told her they were sorry after realising they had messaged the wrong Gina Miller

One of the legal groups that brought the case to the High Court, Mishcon de Reya, previously said that a number of other clients who wanted to join the action withdrew their names after receiving letters of abuse.

Yet for US-based Ms Miller, the abuse has introduced her to a whole new fanbase - boosting her number of followers on Twitter to 28,000 - who can now keep up with her daily insights on American football and baseball.

To make it clear, she did tweet: "Again, to my new UK-friends: Wrong Gina Miller. It's @thatginamiller you want. Appreciate all the engaging dialog though."

She later said: "The tide began to shift when they realised I was the wrong Gina Miller - with lots of people saying they were sorry.

"I started talking to some of them about soccer - one even asked me what I thought of Queen's Park Rangers' manager."

She added: "I'll take them, I hope they'll stay - if they want to chat about sports, I'm their girl."

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