Tess Nichol is the Consumer Affairs reporter for the Herald.

Teuila Blakely defends Princess of Flowers after video attracts online bullies

Teuila Blakely was abused after she posted a selfie with her friend, Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell last month. Photo / Instagram/Teuila Blakely
Teuila Blakely was abused after she posted a selfie with her friend, Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell last month. Photo / Instagram/Teuila Blakely

Actress Teuila Blakely has come to the defence of a woman whose viral video made her the target of vitriolic online bullying.

Earlier this month Facebook personality Princess of Flowers, real name Fololeni Hansen, posted a video of herself dancing and singing along to the song Proud Mary.

In the video's caption, Flowers dissed former X Factor New Zealand contestant Ashley Tonga, whose 2013 audition of Proud Mary became a YouTube sensation.

"REST IN ASH," the caption read.

"This song goes out to a fallen star ASHLEY TONGA who never won the ex-factor because she's got too much hate factor."

Mrs Hansen told the Herald the video was a reaction to Ms Tonga telling her she couldn't act.

She said she uses the persona of Princess of Flowers as a way to process her emotions.

"When I got irritated with Ashley challenging on me on my acting ability I just go to my character and get my feelings out.

"There is no other way I would think of to handle my feelings."

The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times and attracted thousands of comments and likes.

However, most of the comments were negative and Mrs Hansen has been dealing with a huge amount of backlash online since posting the video.

She said she hadn't read the comments but heard from friends and family they were bad.

Worse than nasty comments were pictures she had seen on Tongan community Facebook pages where she and family members had been photoshopped to make it look like they were engaged in incestuous acts.

It was this targeting of her family which upset her the most, Mrs Hansen said.

"I was hurt because they hurt my family who I love. They can't hurt me now though because I'm so strong.

"It was just a silly dance. They are acting in a more embarrassing way than I did."

She said she was unaware of Blakely coming to her defence, but thanked her for her support.

"Oh thank you, oh wow. I wasn't aware but that is sweet."

Blakely, who was herself a recent target of online bullying, came to Mrs Hansen's defence in a Facebook post earlier today.

"The reaction to [the video], reminded me of the same level of vitriol that gets directed at me. This lady sure is strong to withstand it all the way she is," she wrote.

"My heart goes out to her because none of us are perfect, this is what it is to be human.. Yet those of us that go against the existing parameters of what is 'acceptable' especially as PIs [Pacific Islanders] get virtually crucified.

"So many of our people have become so prideful in our ability to judge and curse other people who don't live according to the standards we deem acceptable.

"Who would want to be acceptable to a bunch of cruel, judgmental, widely uneducated and hateful bullies," she asked.

"As a people and AS people we can do and be better."

In March Blakely uploaded a video lambasted internet trolls and abusers for slut-shaming her over a sex tape leaked without her consent two years ago.

The abuse resurfaced after she posted a selfie with her friend, Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell, with whom she was in the sex tape, alongside.

"I just posted a photo of such because he's my friend ... and then everyone lost their damn motherf***ing minds," she said in the video.

"And basically, you know, it's not even like bullying or f***ing trolling, it's goddamn persecution."

- NZ Herald

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