Rylan Clark-Neal has revealed that he was forced to quit Twitter after being subjected to homophobic abuse from trolls.
The former X Factor star, 28, must’ve felt on top of the world when his new game show, Babushka, was lined up to replace The Chase in ITV1’s weekday teatime slot while the long-running quiz enjoys its annual break.
But his joy soon turned to frustration after he was bombarded on the social-media site by irate viewers.
“Can’t believe they’re cancelling The Chase!” said one user. “Bradley [Walsh] deserves more than to be replaced by Rylan.”
Babushka, which airs for the first time on Monday at 5pm, has been likened to Noel Edmonds’ Deal Or No Deal, with contestants winning up to £44,000. But sometimes, it’s hard to convince viewers when they have their favourites.
Appearing on today’s Loose Women, London-born Rylan revealed: “I was getting tweets saying I was taking over [The Chase]. It was getting out of control.”
However, those comments were tame compared to the ones mocking his sexuality.
“I felt like I’d gone back five years to when I was on The X Factor,” he said. “The homophobia…”
Rylan eventually decided that enough was enough, and said goodbye to his Twitter followers with the words: “Getting a bit ridiculous now. Just doing my job. Enjoy the show. Coming off here for a while.”
Thankfully, the abuse doesn’t seem to have dampened Rylan’s ambition, and he recently told The Radio Times that he has his sights set on a coveted Saturday evening slot.
“The one thing I’d like to get eventually is a Noel’s House Party-type, Takeaway-esque show,” he said. “Maybe in a year or so, if all goes well, then I think the public will be ready for me to do that.”
Rylan, who’s married to Big Brother star Dan Neal, has spoken before about the abuse he and his partner have suffered at the hands of internet trolls.
Last year, he revealed how one had posted a tweet saying: “Where is ISIS when you need them? Two gays I would love to harpoon in one spot – damn!”