Ever since Band Aid in 1984, there have been some remarkable anthems sung by the world’s greatest music artists in collaboration for wonderful causes.
This is something like that. Save Our Trolls, is a spoof charity campaign song by Mother London. Its cause is wonderful. It aims to raise awareness of trolling damage and have trolling considered a Public Health issue. The anthem and campaign want to open a dialogue with trolls, Public Health authorities, politicians and internet platforms and bring about change in attitudes towards online behaviours.
The anthem features vocals by a cast of celebrities including Charlotte Church, Miranda Hart and Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, as the ultimate troll.
The song was developed in response to the stories of four women – Charley, Jackie, Charlotte and Kelly – at the centre of a BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour series, #TakeBackConTROLL, who have all experienced some form of online abuse and have been telling their stories to Emma Barnett.
As part of the series, Woman’s Hour offered the women the opportunity to work with Mother and develop a creative solution to the problem. They both helped to develop, and feature in, Mother’s tongue-in-cheek campaign to reclaim their online personas.
Save Our Trolls sings about the miserable state that trolls must be in to post their horrible abuses. Im other words, it conveys a serious point, in an unexpected, slightly satirical package, to help the message stick.
There is also a campaign website.
Save Our Trolls’ performers include:
- Vocals by singer, Charlotte Church; comedian, Miranda Hart; TV presenter, Laura Whitmore; Sandi Bogle formerly of Gogglebox; Ben Ofedu of Phats and Small; commentator and presenter Vanessa Feltz,; TV presenter and singer, Scarlette Douglas, and broadcaster and writer Edith Bowman;
- Instrumentals by Metronomy drummer, Anna Prior; and Girl Ray guitarist, Poppy Hankin
- Charley, Jackie, Charlotte and Kelly, whose stories inspired the whole project plus, actor Andy Serkis
- Plus contributors: Shazia Mirza, Tom Read Wilson, Anna Prior – drums, Poppy Hankin – guitar, Lips Choir, Raceman MC, Earl Okin, Simon Gordon, Liz Cass & Matt Cahill
Dr Perpetua Neo, psychologist, commented, “Trolling can be an extremely addictive behaviour for a certain subset of people, it provides quick and low-cost route to gratification and adulation. Because they can gain such gratification almost effortlessly, it causes their reward circuit to fire off, compounding the addictive nature of trolling. In the real world they can’t get the same levels of gratification, so it is just easier to hide behind a computer of anonymity. Trolls can be sophisticated. Who the prime targets are and are able to sniff them out, much the same as a shark hunting prey. The behaviour also has many parallels to those of a playground bully, but without the limits of the playground.”
Charley added, “This is something that I feel is such a hush-hush topic. There are so many men and women that have suffered in silence due to online trolls, through either embarrassment or shame. Being part of this project has really given me the confidence to stand up and voice my opinion on something so personal. I hope this helps other men and women, as it has helped me, close a door that I thought would always be open.”
Kelly stated, “Firstly thank you to Woman’s Hour for allowing me to be part of such a crucial campaign and how they have help rebuild some of my, and the team’s, self-confidence. We would love for this to go as far and wide as possible to raise awareness, help and support as many people as possible.”
The four participants’ stories:
Charley regularly uploaded photos of herself on her social media, sharing selfies at school or getting ready before going out. She thought nothing of it. In 2016, she found out that her half-brother had been posting these images on an American porn website and inviting users to write obscene comments about her.
At the start of last year, secondary school teacher, Jackie, attended an anti-Donald Trump protest in London. The columnist, Katie Hopkins, was tweeting about the event and Jackie responded directly to her. Their exchange led to articles in newspapers, legal action and Jackie fearing for her job.
In 2015 Charlotte, a barrister working in London, found herself at the centre of a sexism row. She was 27 at the time and accused a fellow lawyer of inappropriate behaviour after he commented on her photo on the networking website Linkedin. He called her picture “stunning” and also said she “won the prize” for the best photo. What followed for Charlotte were rape threats, death threats and newspaper front pages labelling her a “feminazi”.
Kelly received a Facebook message from a stranger containing intimate photos of herself. Kelly reported the crime and her ex-partner was found guilty of sharing the sexually explicit images. Kelly now says she trusts no-one.