An Aussie Netflix star has announced she will be leaving social media after receiving numerous death threats and “horrific, intricate abuse each and every day”.
Chloe Hayden, one of the stars of the Heartbreak High series reboot, posted a lengthy statement on her Instagram on Sunday night, speaking out about the vile attacks she has been dealing with for the past 12 months.
“Over the last year, I have been inundated with several dozen death threats, detailed suicide prompts and horrific, intricate abuse each and every day,” she said.
“It’s inescapable, and is deeply effecting my mental and physical wellbeing.”
Hayden said that, moving forward, her team would be managing and monitoring all of her social media accounts.
They will be reviewing all comments, messages and tags, with any hate speech or threatening language being “immediately reported to federal authorities” before being blocked.
The actress urged her fans to “do the same” if they receive any similar messages, adding it is “vital” for them to know that this kind of behaviour isn’t tolerated.
Hayden, who is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD, is an outspoken mental health and disability advocate and highlighted how people in the autistic community are impacted by disproportionately high suicide rates.
“Suicide is the leading cause of death in people under the age of 44. Autistic people are 9 times more likely to die by suicide,” she said.
“Because of this, my life expectancy is 35. I refuse to allow my platform to contribute to that statistic.”
The 26-year-old said her goal was to always have her platforms be a safe space that promotes kindness and love and she is devastated that “these values aren’t being shown right now”.
“My connection and communication with you all is something I’ve always found so special, and that I cherish and value so deeply; but is something we don’t currently have the privilege of doing,” she said.
“My hope is we can get back to that, but for now, in order to keep my community and myself safe, it is vital for me to take these steps.”
The post was met with an outpouring of support from her online community.
“Proud of you for putting up boundaries to protect your mental health,” fellow actress and autism activist, Rebecca Faith Crews, said.
One fan said her post was “devastating” to read, with others branding her a “genuine inspiration” to so many people.
“I am so sorry you have had to put up with this for so long – this is truly horrific to have to see every day and I’m glad you’re stepping back to take care of your mental health,” another wrote.
“Chloe this post saddens me so much, but you need to protect yourself, you are an inspiring advocate for girls on the spectrum, keep being the most wonderful human, sending you lots of love,” one added.
Hayden has been celebrated for her portrayal of autistic character Quinni in the Heartbreak High series and paving the way for more neurodivergent representation in Australian media.