Outlander star Sam Heughan reveals his torment at years of online bullying, harassment and stalking

Outlander star Sam Heughan has revealed he has been suffering years of torment over ‘constant’ online bullying, harassment, stalking and false claims about his personal life.

By Brian Ferguson
Friday, 17th April 2020, 9:41 am
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 5:02 pm
Sam Heughan has spoken for the first time about the impact of online bullies and stalkers on his life. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Sam Heughan has spoken for the first time about the impact of online bullies and stalkers on his life. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The Scottish actor posted a lengthy statement on social media saying he was concerned every day about the affect on his life and "mental state.”

The actor, who also defended criticism of a decision to remain in Hawaii during the coronavirus lockdown after going on holiday there, said: “I am at a loss, upset, hurt and have to speak out.”

Heughan, who was born in Dumfries and Galloway, said he and his co-stars, friends and family had been subjected to "personal slurs, shaming, abuse, death threats, stalking, sharing of private information and vile, false narrative" since Outlander was first shown six years ago.

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He disclosed that he had been sent items and had been stalked at home, and that he had his work colleagues had also had personal email accounts hacked.

In his statement, Heughan defended his decision to self-isolate in Hawaii, saying he had been there before travel restrictions were imposed and had decided to remain in a safe environment, revealing adding that he was being "doubly careful" because of a recent three-month illness.

He said: “None of us knew how bad things would get but as soon as the situation worsened, upon the advice of everyone I trust, I decided to remain in safe environment.

“It was a good decision. I’m safe, isolated, putting no-one at risk and am not a burden to the locals. Several are telling me they are desperate to sell their produce (as hotels and restaurants are now closed). We have not been asked to leave.

“I’m nervous take 3-5 flights back to the UK, around 20 hours on several planes, exposing myself to more danger, to be stuck in a city. This will only increase the risk to myself and others.”

The 39-year-old, a graduate of the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, was best-known for playing the founder of Tennent’s Lager in a series of adverts for the brewing company before being cast in Outlander.

Heughan, who appeared in Doctors, River City, Rebus and Midsomer Murders before he was cast in Outlander, has become a huge international star thanks to his role his Jamie Fraser in the Sony-Starz series, which is based in a converted warehouse complex in Cumbernauld, in Lanarkshire.

However, in his statement, Heughan said he had been “consistently" targeted on blogs and social media over the last six years but had chosen not to speak about it previously, saying: “I believe in humanity.”

Heughan also said he had hoped that his tormenters - who included teachers, psychologists and “adults who should know better” - would "just go away.”

The actor suggested he was taking legal action over some of the claims made against him, which he said included "manipulating fans, being a closet homosexual, trying to mislead or exhort fans for money and disregarding Covid-19 advice."

Heughan said: "I've done none of the above. I'm a normal guy and nothing like the characters I play.

"These bullies have created a false narrative, sharing private information and abuse my loved ones and I, consistently for the last six years on blogs and social media.

"I will not entertain it anymore and am blocking anyone that writes anything defamatory or abusive.

"Sending items or stalking my private accommodation, they have harassed my work colleagues and constantly tried to hack our email and personal accounts. I'm so hurt by this.

“As an actor in these times, we feel impotent. We can’t do much but I have tried to use what leverage I have to provide a voice to charities that need it and hopefully a little entertainment or light relief.

“For those still unhappy I suggest you unfollow. To every fan that has supported me and the work I do, THANK. I’m so grateful, from the bottom of my heart.

Stay safe and please be kind to yourself and each other. There’s so much more to concern ourselves with right now. See you around. XX”

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