Wed Mar 21, 2018 London

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Editorial comment from Matthew SteeplesOur editor tells it like it is and he rarely minces his words

Magnificent Mary

Matthew Steeples commends Mary Beard for her forgiving manner towards those who troll her on Twitter


Those of us who use Twitter have surely encountered online abuse. With nearly 25,000 followers across two accounts (@SteepleTimes and @DaSteepsTweets), I’ve had my fair share and I’m far from alone. Cambridge University classicist professor Mary Beard, however, has had it worse than most but her attitude to her assailants is surprisingly refreshing.


Professor Mary Beard
Professor Mary Beard

Everyone from BNP and EDL activists to a bitter blogger named Jack Monroe have given me hell on Twitter. I’ve been bombarded with vicious rants from UKIP supporters and Scottish independence campaigners and worst of all, the poet Pam Ayres penned a verse about me to her followers. When I heard that Beard had befriended and is supplying a reference for one Twitter troll who called her a “filthy old slut”, though, I was at first bemused but ultimately impressed.


Forgiveness is a hard thing to find, but Beard, in telling the student –a public school educated youngster from Hale, Greater Manchester named Oliver Rawlings –that she’d take him out for a drink and “smack his bottom” in 2013 showed her humourous side. In now offering this Nottingham University graduate a job reference, she’s gone a stage further.


“Troll slayer” Beard told the New Yorker:


“He is going to find it hard to get a job, because as soon as you Google his name that is what comes up”.


“And although he was a very silly, injudicious, and at that moment not very pleasant young guy, I don’t actually think one tweet should ruin your job prospects”.


More of us should follow Beard’s lead. Don’t feed the trolls: Kill them with kindness.



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6 comments on “Magnificent Mary”

  1. Having seen your stupid views on UKIP, you deserve to die. You are an idiot Matthew Steeples and you owe Nigel Farage an apology. Wanker.

  2. Does this silly old crow really think that she has the power to stop this guy getting a job?
    Most intelligent employers I know would think slagging off this boring old academic self publicist would deserve an immediate job interview. Who on earth does she think she is?
    Interesting that Farage has managed to attract Douglas Carswell….what a coup. That will send shivers down our pathetic Prime Minister.

    1. Farage supporters must engage in intellegent and logical argumentation and not behave like morons and yobs. Politics is a dirty game and there is a ploy to smear Farage by some pretending to be supporters and spreading hatred in his name. There is something about Mary….Educating Rita comes to mind..

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