Charlotte Dawson hospitalised after troll war

Charlotte Dawson. Photo / Getty Images
Charlotte Dawson. Photo / Getty Images

Expat New Zealand TV presenter Charlotte Dawson is in hospital after waging a war against internet "trolls".

A St Vincent's Hospital spokesman said 46-year-old Dawson was in the hospital in Sydney's Darlinghurst and was expected to make a "full recovery".

A spokeswoman for Dawson's management told news.com.au: "She is in hospital and she is OK."

"She has asked that her privacy be respected," he said. "She is sitting up in bed and she's in good hands."

Police said they were called to an inner city Sydney residence early today. An ambulance spokesman said they also responded to a call to help a woman at 3.05am (local time).

Dawson appeared on Australian television last night to expose vitriolic Twitter bullying this week, with many followers calling for the celebrity to "please go hang yourself."

The social media war started after Dawson tracked down one alleged Twitter hater, Tanya Heti, who has since been suspended from her mentoring job at Melbourne's Monash University after Dawson reported her abusive tweets to the university.

After Dawson's TV appearances last night, hundreds of tweeters took aim at her.

In more than 100 messages of abuse, which Dawson re-tweeted on her own page, followers told the celebrity to "neck yourself you filthy s***" and "please put your face in a toaster".

During the abuse some offenders sent images of dead bodies covered in blood and told Dawson to "please hang yourself promptly."

Followers also attacked the former model's appearance and personal life.

"It's a very good thing that you cannot breed," one poster wrote.

"How the f**** did you become a model."

Shortly after 2am today Dawson posted on Twitter "Hope this ends the misery" and "You win x."

Today the online community expressed concern over the treatment of Dawson after her final Twitter post at 2.07am.

The war began after Dawson received a message on Twitter from Heti to "please go hang yourself".

Dawson, who hosts Australia's Next Top Model, identified Heti from a business card she had posted on Twitter. She challenged her after Heti attacked Bernadette Casey, who had defended Dawson following an earlier abusive tweet which also referenced suicide, News Limited reported.

When Casey told Heti she had lost her partner to suicide Heti responded "if I was your fiance I'd hang myself too #gohangyourself."

Heti, also from New Zealand, would not comment to News Limited on the tweets, but Monash University said in a statement it "does not condone or endorse the comments made by Tanya Heti in relation to her Twitter exchange with Charlotte Dawson".

"The University has directed Ms Heti to take leave with pay and is in the process of investigating the matter at this time," university spokesperson Stacey Mair said.
Dawson is an ambassador for Community Brave, a project to eradicate online bullying, homophobia, transphobia and youth suicide.

However Dawson is no stranger to sending controversial tweets, and has been accused of bullying on social media herself.

In a News Limited live chat yesterday, several commenters also took issue with Dawson's tactic of "retweeting" abusive comments.

"I have never encouraged anyone to act, it's in my feed if they want to react," Dawson replied. "I respond with humour, especially with the really vitriolic material. They need to know their content will be retweeted. If they don't want to take responsibility for publishing bile against people then they need to take that responsibility.

"It's also great for showing people how abusive cowards dish out vitriol with no apparent consequence. People posting on a public forum are aware that content may be retweeted and commented on. It's a great thing."

Dawson said internet trolls "are often time rich and fairly angry or lonely people".

Earlier this month Dawson told the Herald on Sunday why she left New Zealand, saying her native country is "small, nasty and vindictive. It's a tiny, little village ... a tiny country at the end of the earth".

WHERE TO GET HELP
If it's an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111. Or call Youthline 0800 376 633, Lifeline 0800 543 354, Depression Helpline 0800 111 757, What's Up 0800 942 8787 (noon-midnight).

If you or someone you know wants advice on dealing with cyber bullies contact the NetSafe help line 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723).

- HERALD ONLINE

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