Katie Price has told MPs her disabled son Harvey has been the target of “disgusting and despicable” abuse from online trolls.
Harvey, whose father is former footballer Dwight Yorke, suffers from partial blindness, Prader-Willi syndrome, autism, and learning and behavioural difficulties, as a result of a rare genetic disorder.
Appearing virtually at the Commons Petitions Committee as part of a parliamentary inquiry into online abuse, Price said trolls have used all kinds of online platforms to attack him, including TikTok, Facebook and even eBay.
Detailing the insults he regularly receives, she said the 18-year-old “gets a lot of racial abuse”, and other “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,” she added.
Price expressed her anger over specific people, including three police officers, cricketer Ben Stokes and comedian Frankie Boyle, who she said had all mocked her son.
“They are laughing at him, not with him,” she said.
“He gets a lot of it from football fans, they call him a gorilla.
“I’m not going to say it all, it should be treated the same when it’s written, I think people are more shocked verbally.”
Price said she refuses to “hide her son away” in response, or stop him from posting videos of his keyboard playing, as she is “proud of him, proud of the man he’s become”.
She added: “Why should he stop doing it, why should I be told I can’t let him enjoy that, when other people do?
“Harvey touches the hearts of all those he meets – his heart knows no bounds when giving out love and affection.”
Price – who last year spent some time at private mental health hospital The Priory – said the abuse had taken its toll on her too, admitting: “I can see how people end up committing suicide.
“It all goes down to mental health, think what the bullying and trolling does.”
Price added: “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.”
She said she’d had no response from social media companies when she complained about the abuse.
Price 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.”
The former model also said that photos of Harvey taken when he was in hospital suffering from a lung infection were recently shared online.
Additionally, Price said when she was selling her car on eBay, the listing had to be taken down because there were so many abusive comments about Harvey.
She said she printed off the comments and gave them to the police, but added: “They were disgusted, but there was nothing they could do because there was nothing in place.”
Both Price and her mother Amy, who in 2018 revealed that she has a terminal lung disease, have called on MPs to introduce tougher consequences for online trolls and introduce a trolls register.
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Price said the logistics of tracking online abusers shouldn’t be difficult, comparing it to other daily transactions.
She said: “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.”
The 42-year old said she will keep fighting for penalties for online trolls across the world, and said a “Harvey’s Law” being introduced would be “the best thing I’ve ever done”.
Price first appeared before the Petitions Committee in 2018, after more than 220,000 people signed her petition to make online abuse a criminal offence.
The documentary Katie Price: Harvey & Me, which looks at the realities of bringing up a disabled child, will air on BBC One later this year.