Music

Triple J’s Ben And Liam Open Up About The “Relentless” Abuse They Cop Online

“We see all the posts, we see all the comments."

Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton took over as triple j Breakfast hosts at the start of the year, and it hasn’t always been an easy ride.

If you follow triple j on Facebook, you’ve probably seen those viral posts calling for the duo to stand down, complaining that triple j has “gone to shit” and asking previous hosts Matt Okine and Alex Dyson to return.

The hecklers haven’t gone unnoticed — in an emotional segment that aired this morning in honour of R U OK? Day (which is today!), Liam opened up about what it’s like to be on the receiving end of online abuse. “Taking after a colossal show like ‘Matt & Alex’, it’s tough. You don’t expect everyone to like it — we still don’t. We understand that,” he said in the segment, which you can hear in full below.

“But it does get hard, there is sometimes a fresh can of hate that you’ve gotta open up every day, and it definitely wears you down.

“I think these days there’s a bit of a disconnect… I’ve experienced it myself with artists, with anyone who’s in the public eye in general — when people send things in, when people put things online, there’s no repercussions of people’s words, or at least they feel that way.”

He added that the triple j staff can’t just ignore the stuff that’s posted online or sent to the station’s textline. “We see all the posts, we see all the comments. And I can honestly say I’ve had nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep because of stuff like that.”

“I’ve had times when I’ve flown home back to Adelaide and just felt like a disappointment, a failure,” he said. “Sometimes it’s pretty relentless as well, like I’ve had times throughout the last eight months where I’ve opened messages to my personal account, even people quite explicitly telling me to take my own life.”

It gets worse: “I had an experience a few months back. I was 20 at the time, and I was walking around late at night after a gig and some guys kinda cornered me and were telling me how hopeless they thought I was and they thought we were, and that I’d never be Matt & Alex.

“I can honestly say, I’ve never felt lower than that point. I just felt absolutely pathetic, properly pathetic.”

It’s a moving segment, and one everyone who’s ever fired off online without thinking about the impact their words have should listen to. Onya, Liam.

If you’d like to talk about any issues with your mental health and options getting help, you can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.