Alex Scott: Strictly success has silenced racist trolls

Danny Thompson
Alex Scott attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Strictly Come Dancing star Alex Scott has reported a distinct change in the type of messages she receives on social media - and she puts it down to her success on the show.

The former England and Arsenal defender has been living with social media trolls since becoming a pundit commenting on men’s football, having to endure insults about her race, gender and ability to analyse the men’s game.

But she now says appearing on long-running BBC show Strictly has led to a much more positive response.

Ms Scott said: “The support I’m receiving on the back of Strictly is super positive. It’s nice and refreshing. For them to message that kind of stuff rather than putting me down is really nice.

“I know I’m inspiring people. That’s why I didn’t quit football. I knew the change I was making.”

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Discussing the awful online abuse she’s been subjected to, the 35-year-old said: “I had all of it, for being a woman on TV, for being a woman of colour on TV, that I’m ticking a box, death threats. The lot.”

Ms Scott enjoyed a glittering football career as a fullback, turning out for club sides such as Arsenal and Boston Breakers. She is also the Lionesses second most capped player, appearing 140 times. She also represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

Alex Scott of Arsenal during the Women's Super League match between Arsenal Ladies and Manchester City Women at Meadow Park on May 12, 2018 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

She moved into the media after retiring from football, appearing on Premier League games for Sky Sports, as well as being a BBC pundit at the 2018 World Cup.

The sportswoman then joined Strictly for the 17th series, being paired with pro Neil Jones. The pair have worked so well together, they have had to quell rumours they are involved romantically.

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Addressing the rumours, Ms Scott said: “It’s great that everyone can see how well me and Neil get on, and that we do have this great partnership and it’s not just for TV.

“But we’re not thinking anything about that. We’re together all the time training, and we’re so immersed in Strictly and doing everything for the show, so that stuff hasn’t even entered our thoughts.”