Outlander star Sam Heughan took to social media today with a lengthy message for fans, expressing frustration with what he describes as an ongoing campaign of "bullying, harassment, stalking, and false narrative" that he has dealt with for years, but which has become worse amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Heughan, who was vacationing in Hawaii when the travel ban started, has elected to stay there rather than working his way back to the United Kingdom. While socially isolating in a beautiful vacation destination sounds like a pretty great deal, Heughan has seemingly been receiving blowback for the choice on social media.
Without going into much in the way of details, Heughan claims that the culprits are "adults who should know better" and that online harassment has escalated to doxxing, death threats, and people "sending items" to his accommodations in Hawaii. He notes that there are "ongoing legal reasons" that he cannot give more in the way of specifics.
"After the past six years of constant bullying, harassment, stalking, and false narrative, I am at a loss, upset, hurt, and have to speak out," Heughan wrote in the statement. "It's affecting my life, mental state, and is a daily concern. My costars, friends, family, myself, in fact anyone I'm associated with, has been subjected to personal slurs, shaming, abuse, death threats, stalking, sharing of private information and vile, false narrative. I've never spoken about it because I believe in humanity and have always hoped these bullies would just go away. I can't elaborate for ongoing legal reasons but they are professionals: teachers, psychologists, adults who should know better."
You can see the tweet below.
Stay safe all.x pic.twitter.com/9WbwAnT6nz— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) April 17, 2020
"Recently, these false claims vary from me manipulating fans, being a closet-homosexual, trying to mislead or extort fans for money and disregarding COVID-19 advice," Heughan continued. "I've done none of the above. I'm a normal guy and nothing like the characters I play. Most recently, some of you may know I'm currently self-isolating in Hawaii. I came here before the travel ban. None of us knew how bad things would get but as the situation worsened, upon the advice of everyone I trust, I decided to remain in a 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 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 to take three to five 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 others and myself. Recently I was ill for three months and am being doubly careful. These bullies have created a false narrative, shared private information and abused 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 YOU. 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."
Since most of this centers on the response to his COVID-19 isolation, the backstory -- the six years he mentions more than once -- is mostly unexplored. Many celebrities deal with a certain amount of online (and sometimes real-world) abuse from fans or detractors who can be delusional or violent, though, and it would not be surprising for the romantic lead of a hit show to have some stalkers.