Some people say the only way to stop online harassment is to stop going online. Well, we aren’t going anywhere. Reclaim Your Domain is Refinery29’s campaign to make the internet (and the world outside of it) a safer space for everyone — especially women.
Update 4:25 p.m. ET: Lady Gaga has entered the fray, asking her fans to lay off.
In an Instagram post, Gaga wrote, “What an incredible talented artist. I LOVE ED. @edsheeran deserves all our love and respect like all humans do. I wish all people on the internet would be positive and loving and apart of creating an online community that is kind and empowering, not hateful and mean. No reason to tear down an artist simply because they are on top. Work harder to be kinder everybody. That should be your first duty to humanity.”
He may be a chart-topping global superstar and this year’s Glastonbury headliner, but Ed Sheeran is one of the most divisive artists of our time, capable of stirring feelings of both pure love and unadulterated rage in different segments of the population.
Sheeran knows he has haters – he introduced the widely reviled “Galway Girl” at Glastonbury as a song “you might not like” but probably know the words to. But the constant stream of online abuse has proved too much to bear, and he has announced his departure from Twitter.
“I’ve actually come off Twitter completely. I can’t read it,” the 26-year-old told The Sun. “I go on it and there’s nothing but people saying mean things. Twitter’s a platform for that…One comment ruins your day. But that’s why I’ve come off it. The head-fuck for me has been trying to work out why people dislike me so much.”
Sheeran will remain on Instagram, which will automatically generate tweets, but he will no longer be posting to the micro-blogging platform himself, The Sun reported.
He mentioned the Twitter backlash he received from Lady Gaga fans after a minor misunderstanding. “Lady Gaga’s fanbase read an interview in which they assumed I was talking about her and they all fucking hate,” Sheeran told The Sun. “And it wasn’t anything to do with that at all. So I think Twitter gets on a massive steam roll of assuming things and then you get in the shit.”
Without endless feedback from trolls and other lowlifes on Twitter, Sheeran said he’ll rely on friends and family to keep him in check. “I have people like my dad who will have a conversation with me. I don’t have to have someone calling me a whatever.”
His departure from Twitter comes just over a week after many falsely accused him of lip synching and using a backing track during his headline Glastonbury set, which was otherwise largely well received.
In a response that sounded more exasperated than outraged by the accusations, Sheeran tweeted that he was actually using a loop pedal, as he always does, which allows him to record vocals and guitar lines on the spot, enabling him to create a layered, looped accompaniment live on stage.