Mail and Guardian editor Verashni Pillay has responded to instances of vitriolic “cyberbullying”.
Pillay was trolled on Twitter following an apology issued by the newspaper for a report published concerning DA leader Mmusi Maimane receiving mentorship from former President FW de Klerk three weeks ago.
Pillay said that it was not important what the abuse was linked to, but more that women in the public sphere were dogged by threats.
“Before becoming an editor of a national title, I was a columnist for about five years. Both positions have put me in the public eye in some way and there will of course be criticism and critical engagement which are always welcome, if difficult at times,” she said.
“It is when certain people cross the line into hate speech and threats of violence that it becomes problematic,” Pillay added.
“I once had a man on Twitter threaten to necklace me. I have received a few abusive posts since the De Klerk/Maimane matter, but I don’t think it’s important what the abuse is linked to.
“There is very little room for error or even just doing one’s job in the public eye. I have chatted to one female reporter who is very straight up and down in how she engages on social media: just putting across facts, and she too has had vile threats, with someone telling her once they hoped she got raped and contracted Aids. Clearly this sort of thing is unacceptable,” she said.