Kim-Joy Hewlett, a former Great British Bake Off contestant, has recently been targeted by racist trolls on social media. Since appearing on the popular show in 2018, Kim-Joy has amassed a large following on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, where she frequently posts pictures of her beautiful and colorful bakes.

Unfortunately, not everyone who views Kim-Joy’s content has good intentions, and she has been subjected to a barrage of racist abuse on several occasions. In response, Kim-Joy has taken to sharing some of the messages she has received from these trolls in order to raise awareness of the issue and encourage others to speak out against online hate.

One message that Kim-Joy shared on Twitter featured a racist slur directed at her, along with comments about her appearance and heritage. The message was particularly distressing because it included a series of emojis depicting a monkey with its hands over its eyes, suggesting that Kim-Joy is not only being targeted because of her race, but also because she is a woman.

Another message that Kim-Joy shared on Instagram was from a troll who suggested that she should “go back to where she came from”. This language is particularly insidious as it implies that Kim-Joy does not belong in the UK, despite the fact that she was born and raised in the country.

Kim-Joy has also received messages that are not explicitly racist, but which use stereotypes based on her ethnicity to make sweeping assumptions about her character. For example, one troll suggested that Kim-Joy “must be brilliant at maths” simply because she is of East Asian descent, perpetuating the damaging stereotype of the “model minority”.

Kim-Joy has been vocal about the impact that these messages have had on her mental health, describing them as “horrendous” and “hurtful”. In an interview with The Guardian, she explained that “it can be really hard to shake off comments like that, and it can really affect your confidence and sense of self-worth”.

Despite the distress that these messages have caused, Kim-Joy has been heartened by the outpouring of support that she has received from her fans and fellow bakers. Many have taken to social media to express their solidarity with Kim-Joy and to condemn the hate speech that she has been subjected to.

Several high-profile figures have also spoken out in support of Kim-Joy. In a tweet, presenter and journalist Konnie Huq described the abuse as “absolutely disgusting”, while comedian Richard Osman called on social media platforms to do more to tackle online hate.

It is clear that Kim-Joy’s experience is not an isolated one. A recent report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate found that 1 in 5 people in the UK have experienced online abuse in the past year, with people from ethnic minority backgrounds and women being particularly likely to be targeted.

This is a deeply concerning trend, and one that our society as a whole must confront. Social media platforms must take more responsibility for monitoring and removing hate speech from their sites, and individuals must challenge racism and bigotry whenever they encounter it.

Kim-Joy’s decision to share the messages she has received from racist trolls is a brave and important act. By shining a light on the ugliness of online hate, she is encouraging others to speak out against it and showing solidarity with those who have experienced similar abuse.

As she told The Guardian, “it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are communities out there who will support you”. We must all strive to be a part of those communities, and to stand up against all forms of hate speech and discrimination.