A north-east councillor and MSP candidate has said she feared for her safety after receiving a death threat online.
Mid-Formartine representative and SNP candidate for Banff and Buchan Karen Adam was shocked to receive a threatening reply on Twitter to an innocuous tweet about an upcoming Aberdeen independence event.
A Twitter account replied with a profanity and the message “I want to shoot you in the head. You are not serious.”
Ms Adam initially thought the tweet was from a bot account but the situation turned serious when she discovered it was a real person behind it.
After discussing the tweet with parliamentarians and thinking about what happened to Jo Cox, I realised how serious the situation could become.
The account was reported to the police and suspended by Twitter, with Ms Adam receiving a visit from the cops today.
And she revealed that the tweet made her fear for her safety when out in the public.
She said: “After discussing the tweet with parliamentarians and thinking about what happened to Jo Cox, I realised how serious the situation could become.
“It made me think about security and safety in my home and when I am out and about, especially if I become an MSP.
“A tweet like that could embolden someone to act on it.
“My tweet was not even about a controversial topic, it was a tweet about an event in Aberdeen.
“It made my mind wander and spiral about safety in my own home, I usually let my dog out at night but I kept him locked in last night.”
Police visited Ms Adam’s home this morning to take her statement and give advice.
They surveyed her property, recommended that she install CCTV cameras, and spoke to her neighbours about the incident.
Her phone number was also added to the police’s log list, which means if she calls them she will be responded to urgently.
Ms Adam condemned the person who made the online threats, which came as the UN started their activism against gender-based violence.
She added: “It’s important to stamp out all forms of threats of violence against women online and in-person.
“People need to take a strong stance against this and to stop things like this happening again.
“These threats of violence play on your mind and make you worry about your safety.
“I want to thank everyone who reached out to me for their support, it has really made a difference to me.”
Ms Adam received an outpouring of support on Twitter from fellow community leaders.
Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, kicking off #16Days of Activism.
Today we female political candidates threatened with being shot in the head for promoting an event.
— Rhiannon Spear (@RhiannonV) November 26, 2020
Karen I’m so sorry you are having to read this vile threat. I really hope you are ok and glad to hear you contacted the police.
— Fatima Zahra Joji (@fatima_joji) November 26, 2020
SNP group leader on Aberdeenshire Council Gwyneth Petrie also condemned the tweet.
She said: “Such threats are completely unacceptable, but unfortunately far too common.
“I am glad that Police Scotland have taken swift action on this. We have just seen the start of the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, and this threat highlights exactly why this campaign is necessary.
“As Karen has been strong enough to do, we must all call out such behaviour. We must ensure that it stops being commonplace and that women feel safe to put themselves forward for election.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed they were looking into the message.
She added: “We received a report of threatening comments made online. Inquiries are at an early stage.”