Actress Lena Dunham has said being the target of online trolls has taken its toll on her “emotional and personal life”, and she worries about what it does to teenagers.
The creator and star of comedy TV series Girls is known for publicly sharing strong views about women’s rights and racial and gender equality, but said it is still difficult to be “constantly called out”.
She told The Observer that if it has that impact on her, she is concerned what online abuse does to young people.
Lena, 30, said: “No one likes being criticised. It sucks.
“I’m glad for the dialogue the show created around issues of representation and issues of feminism, but no one likes being constantly called out.
“Even if you don’t think it’s affecting you – like I really don’t care if a guy in the mid-west calls me fat, or a Republican tells me what an idiot I am – you can’t have that much negative energy directed at you without there being some cost to your emotional and personal life.”
The star said she was not speaking out on behalf of celebrities, but for teenagers who are bullied online, pointing out that it can lead to suicide.
She said that, unlike her, they may not have the resources to help them cope.
“I have a yoga teacher and a therapist,” she said.
“I’m taking great care of myself and it hurts even me, so what does it do to a teenager in Florida when her entire class turns against her on Twitter or passes photos of her around online?
“I don’t really care what happens to celebrities on the internet; I care what happens to people on the internet.”