BBC Scotland's Leanne Crichton reveals 'anxiety and stress' of sexist online abuse

By Jordan ElgottBBC Scotland
Leanne Crichton
Leanne Crichton presents Scottish Championship coverage for BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland presenter Leanne Crichton says the online abuse she receives has led her to shun social media because of the "anxiety and stress" it causes.

The former Scotland midfielder suggests female pundits and presenters receive more abuse than male colleagues - and that much is based purely on looks.

BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan has revealed recent social media criticism reduced her to tears.

"I tend not to go near social media now," Crichton tells BBC Scotland.

"When I first started out presenting on the BBC Scotland channel, the Friday night coverage of the Championship, there would more often than not be days when I just wouldn't go on Twitter straight after the game.

"Now I try to filter any messages coming my way and I have family members that do keep across it as well and they'll generally keep me away from bits and pieces I might see."

Crichton earned 72 caps before retiring from international football in January at the age of 33, but continues to play for Scottish champions Glasgow City.

She says she often receives messages of criticism on Twitter following her appearances on TV or radio and suggests that comments about her appearance "are probably the tougher ones to take".

"I can cope with criticism based on my footballing views, but a lot of the messages and requests I get in my inbox are mainly based around my looks and how people interpret me on TV or radio," she says.

"You know in yourself if you've had a good or bad night at work, or you could be riding high about something, and then you click on Twitter and straight away you're brought crashing back down and there's messages there that unsettle you and they fill me probably with anxiety and stress."

Crichton thinks looks and gender should have no relevance when assessing the views or comments of presenters.

"I don't see that same level of criticism being directed at male pundits or presenters and I just think sadly that's the world we live in - that females with any sort of platform, whether you are a singer or an artist, that people do comment on how you look more than they would with male counterparts," she says.

Karen Carney deleted her Twitter account in January and fellow former England player Alex Scott has also received criticism.

"It's frustrating as I know these females as footballers and I see them now on TV, doing exactly the job I do, and I think they do it very well," Crichton adds.

"I think people are just particularly narrow minded and ill-educated if they think these females don't have the right to these opportunities.

"I just hope that people through time evolve and open their eyes and recognise that having females on TV is giving young girls and women the right to see what they can become."

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