Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter has been bombarded with relentless trolling as viewers hit out at Chas Dingle, her on-screen character. Fans have proved so unable to distinguish between fiction and reality that the 46-year-old has been forced to privatise her Twitter account altogether.
In a bid to call a halt to the trolling, Lucy limited who could see her posts, only giving access to the 254,900 fans who had already been following her before the online war broke out.
Cruel Chas had left Paddy Kirk, who is played by Dominic Brunt, contemplating suicide after she cheated on him.
She fell into the arms of another man, Al Chapman (Michael Windman), leaving estranged husband Paddy totally devastated and ready to end his life.
Emotional audiences hit out, condemning her for her alter-ego’s “unacceptable” behaviour, and – despite an intervention from Dominic himself – there was no end to the online insults.
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Recently, Lucy took to Twitter in a last-ditch bid to calm viewers down – to no avail.
“And to think that most of the profiles to proudly paste the #bekind on the profile, quickly moved onto the next # they could equally be part of…
“I hope your children or in some cases, grandchildren are proud of you!! What fine examples of hypocrisy and schadenfreude,” she raged.
Earlier this month, Dominic also expressed his feelings on the app, venting: “Wow!! People still being pretty damned cruel and personal towards my dear friend @lucyparge. IT’S A STORY.
“Lucy has selflessly played this story for all it’s worth, knowing she/Chas would be disrespected and insulted on social media, and STILL hit all the beats. Amazing actress.x”
Even Emmerdale director Duncan Foster waded into the debate, and was equally defensive of the ITV star.
“Most soaps tackle difficult and challenging stories [and] our actors will always try to make it as real as possible. That’s their craft and talent,” he reasoned.
However, he also cautioned: “As Dom says, IT’S A STORY. IT’S FICTION. IT’S NOT REAL. Lucy is just playing her character Chas.”
In no uncertain terms, he added: “Stop the abuse.”
Now viewers who wish to follow the star will have to be manually approved before they can access her posts, with no news on whether Lucy will reverse her decision when the storm dies down.
Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7:30pm on ITV, with a special one-hour long episode on Thursdays.
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