Mixed race couple forced to flee Irish home with son, 2, due to death threat from online trolls after starring in Lidl ad campaign

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A MIXED race couple was forced to flee their Irish home with their 22-month-old son after receiving hateful death threats from online trolls after appearing in a Lidl ad campaign.

Fiona Ryan, 33, and her fiance Jonathan Mathis, 32, have been at the centre of vile abuse after the ad campaign aired for the supermarket chain last month.

Lidl

Fiona Ryan, 33, and her fiance Jonathan Mathis, 32, have been at the centre of vile abuse[/caption]

Internet trolls created a campaign against the family and the supermarket chain, which actively targeted the couple after they began appearing on billboards and TV in Ireland in September.

Fiona told RTE’s Late Late Show on Friday night the family had decided to move to England after receiving abusive and racist comments online.

MALICIOUS ABUSE

The abuse went as far as evil death threats directed at their toddler, the Irish Times reported.

The young mum said online abusers were writing malicious content about them on Facebook and Twitter as well as trying to contact their accounts.

She told the programme: “They are talking about harming and death to my partner and my child so I am not going to stay in a country [where] this is allowed.”

Jonathan is originally from Brazil but grew up in England, in Liverpool and the Cotswolds before moving to Ireland with his fiance.

They are talking about harming and death to my partner and my child so I am not going to stay in a country [where] this is allowed


Fiona Ryan

He said he has received malicious comments because of his skin colour throughout his life to the point where it seemed “normal” to him, and was disgusted to see the reaction to the advertisement.

He added: “I got so upset and angry at the same time. These people are looking at my child and saying all this hurtful stuff. He’s a completely innocent child.”

STRING OF VILE COMMENTS

Lidl Ireland early last month tweeted that it was having to block and report “offensive and racist tweets” from former journalist Gemma O’Doherty about the couple’s inclusion in the advert.

O’Doherty began whipping up an online campaign to boycott Lidl after seeing the ads featuring the family.

I got so upset and angry at the same time. These people are looking at my child and saying all this hurtful stuff. He’s a completely innocent child


Jonathan Mathis

During the programme, presenter Ryan Tubridy read out a comment O’Doherty posted about the couple posted on Twitter.

She wrote: “German dump @lidl_ireland gaslighting the Irish people with their multicultural version of ‘The Ryans’. Kidding no-one! Resist the Great Replacement wherever you can by giving this kip a wide berth. #ShopIrish #BuyIrish.”

The tweet is said to have attracted a string of vile comments – including comments from Twitter users about “race/ancestor betrayal,” and replies attacking immigrants and “Africans”

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar condemned the abuse.


The leader of the government called the social media attacks on the County Meath couple “disgusting”.

Lidl Ireland tweeted on September 8: “We are proud of our multicultural & diverse team and our customers. We are proud to work with, and serve, each and every one of them. Everyone is welcome in our store.”

O’Doherty later labelled reports on the abuse targeting the couple and the ad “fake news” and “hysteria.”

Twitter/@lidl_ireland

Lidl Ireland took to Twitter to speak about the abuse the family had received[/caption]

Lidl

The family received hateful death threats from online trolls after appearing in a Lidl ad campaign[/caption]


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