An IT firm employee targeted by online trolls because of her appearance has hit back at her critics in a video message saying she will not let abusers bully her.
Jayde Phoenix, who works for Foursys, an IT security firm in Bury St Edmunds, took part in a campaign for a competition on the LinkedIn site, asking users to guess how many USB sticks she was holding in a vase.
She said users left “graphic and violent” messages on the site, with some finding Ms Phoenix’s personal Facebook page and posting comments such as “an expert on silicon implants” and “office lizard with fake breasts trying to pose as a so-called ‘expert’”.
The 23-year-old, from Suffolk, said she was shocked to see X-rated messages in response to the competition post, which has since been deleted by LinkedIn.
“The nature of the competition wasn’t controversial so the response from some was entirely uncalled for and unexpected,” she said.
In a clip posted on YouTube, Ms Phoenix responded: “It seems some people just can’t believe I could be any good at my job because of the way I look, the way I dress, or just because I’m a woman.
“With more than 1,500 comments, it should have been an amazing day for us, but it turned into a horror show. While the vast majority of them were fantastic, and totally in the spirit of the competition, a few comments were really upsetting — not just for me personally, but for my workmates and bosses, not to mention my family and loved ones.
“People commented on my looks, some degrading me because of how I dress, others found my Facebook profile and invited people to trawl through my private photos. Some even posted graphic and violent messages.”
Ms Phoenix, a corporate account manager, said she had also received support and added that while gender stereotyping is still an issue in the technology industry, women should have the right to express themselves without being objectified.
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