Political campaigner Gina Miller has met with an internet troll who sent hateful, racist and threatening messages to politicians during the Brexit debate.
Miller met with Alan before the coronavirus outbreak for the BBC as part of a documentary into internet trolls.
The man, who simply gave his name as ‘Alan’, had left comments calling for the businesswoman to be deported.
‘One deluded fat ****, go away now you lost, Johnson’s got the majority, all you can do is **** and moan,’ said another message.
The single father, who works as a concierge, explained his comments were ‘literally because of Brexit’.
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He said after the vote he felt ‘there was no point in sitting back and being passive’ as he explained why he had trolled politicians.
‘People who are disenfranchised are people like myself, white single fathers. If you want disenfranchised in the world… I get nothing from nobody,’ he told her.
‘Everybody else can get seemingly what they like. So it got to the point where I thought I’m going to stand up and say something.’
But Miller explained the impact that the attacks had on her life – which escalated to verbal attacks in real life, and her needing security around her 24 hours a day.
She said: ‘In the beginning I thought it was just words, just on social media. But I was out with my daughter recently, standing outside on a road to cross to my car.
‘And this car stopped, window rolled down, shouting ‘You know black ****, you should be hung, traitor. You know, dying is too good for you.”
She added: ‘What I find really frustrating is that people think they know me because of what’s in the media. I often read it and think, who is this woman?’
Miller said that the comments about Brexit had stopped – but she has said now ‘it’s about being a woman of colour, that I look like an ape.’
She added: ‘I actually get told worse things now than I was before.’
In the segment, to be broadcast on television, the pair found some mutual understanding over their tougher experiences, and having sons of similar ages.
Miller was forced to flee from her second husband, who she claimed was a drinker who beat her badly, forcing her to sleep in her ‘little blue car’ in a multistorey car park.
Alan said: ‘Sleeping in a car, I did that for two years, because they couldn’t house me. So I know exactly how it feels to be sleeping in the front of a car. I get that.
‘Now I’ve met you and heard where you’re at, it’s a wrong thing for me to do.
‘I never knew at the time, it was just angering. It was who do these people think they are? You’re all f****** rich and elite. What do they know about my life?’
She hopes that Alan will become a ‘messenger’ to other internet trolls.
She said: ‘All I worry about is my son and your son. I don’t want them to be in a country full of hate.’