Katie Price told MPs she can understand why people take their own lives over online trolling as she delivered a passionate speech in Parliament.
The mum-of-five, 42, said it’s no wonder that so many people have killed themselves after suffering at the hands of anonymous trolls.
Giving evidence to the Petitions Committee as part of its Parliamentary inquiry into online abuse, the TV star detailed the abuse directed online at her disabled son Harvey, 18, and said it had taken a toll on her emotionally too.
Katie told MPs: “Throughout the years I get a lot of trolling and online abuse, the difference is I’m able to speak out myself, but my son Harvey was born with disabilities, he gets a lot of racial abuse, disgusting, despicable things.
“He gets memes made about it, TikToks, posters, he gets mocked in such a serious, disgusting way, there has to be some kind of justice.”
Katie spoke about her anger that three police officers, cricketer Ben Stokes and comedian Frankie Boyle had all publicly mocked her son.
She said: “I think on social media there has be some kind of consequences.
“We are all allowed freedom of speech but you know when you’re crossing that line, more people are committing suicide, it’s just getting worse, it’s on a wider spectrum.
“It’s got to become a law and if it doesn’t this time, I will keep fighting until it does. How far does it have to go before consequences are done?”
Katie said she did not want to stop Harvey enjoying social media and sharing videos of his keyboard playing.
She said: “I’m not going to hide him away when I’m proud of him, proud of the man he’s become.
“Why should he stop doing it, why should I be told I can’t let him enjoy that, when other people do?
“If you go and get a mortgage or a car they want to know your name, your address, credit checks, why can’t they do it on social media? There is not enough protection.”
She added: “When I take Harvey out he has so much respect from people, he is so loved, but online it looks like a different person, he gets abuse all the time.
“I’m sick of it as well, and it’s become draining. I ended up going in The Priory myself earlier this year because the bullying, the trolling, we are only human and I can see how people end up committing suicide and stuff like that.
“It all goes down to mental health, think what the bullying and trolling does. It causes mental health, mental issues.
“It’s an easy law that should be put into place.”
Katie’s mother Amy told MPs there should be a register of trolls.
She said: “They can go on this register because there have got to be consequences.”
Katie added: “People think it’s funny to show to their friends, there is no penalty, they might get their account closed down but they open it in another name or another email address and carry on.
“Nothing has improved, things have got worse.”
Katie said she had had no response from social media companies when she complained to them and it took her two years to get her Facebook account back after she was hacked by a stalker.
She said: “They have got to step up, they just have to.
“You report it but you never hear back or you still see them up there.”
She added: “There have been more suicides, more mental health issues, more abuse, the language on there is getting worse, because people know they can get away with it.”
Katie said she wanted a Harvey’s Law in every country around the world, adding: “In 25 years this would be the best thing I’ve ever done.”
* Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com