Toby Young Toby Young

So I’m supposed to take this online persecution on the chin, am I?

Toby Young suffers from Status Anxiety

Earlier this week I was seriously tempted to call the National Bullying Helpline. Ever since I wrote a blog for the Daily Telegraph questioning whether Alexander McQueen really was a ‘genius’, I’ve become a whipping boy on Twitter, the social networking site. The strange thing is, my chief tormentors are fellow journalists.

‘Alexander McQueen: a thundering f***ing pr*** has his say,’ tweeted Alexis Petridis, the Guardian’s chief rock critic, on the day the blog appeared. This prompted a reply from Caitlan Moran, a Times columnist: ‘Toby Young hasn’t done ANYTHING other than be a c*** since 1993.’ Janice Turner, another Times columnist, agreed: ‘I’d love my kids to go to that school set up by T Young. Timetable: double Latin, perving & insulting dead gays. V trad.’

Okay, nothing too demented there. Not the sort of remarks that would prompt the head of the Civil Service to issue a verbal warning. The problem is, journalists tend to have a lot of followers on Twitter and these fans instantly ‘retweet’ anything controversial their heroes say. Alexis Petridis, for instance, has 4,954 followers and his original comment was retweeted dozens of times.

Caitlan Moran was at it again last Friday when I appeared on BBC2 to do battle with Germaine Greer. ‘God, the reliability of Toby Young to be a total C*** could be used to power the atomic clock,’ she tweeted. This was then retweeted by some of her followers — she has 16,508 in total — and their followers then retweeted it to their followers, and so on. Soon a second eruption spewed forth from Mount Moran: ‘Oh, Germaine Greer. You’re still F***ING MAGNIFICENT. Please end this brilliant monologue by running a sword through Toby Young’s face.’ This caused another tidal wave of repetition.

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