Cameron Cole, the youngest and last ever winner of Big Brother, has revealed that he has experienced a torrent of homophobic abuse since coming out during the show.
During the last season of the reality TV show, Cole emotionally came out to his housemates after hinting his sexuality to fellow housemate Lewis. The 19-year-old went on to win the series, perhaps becoming the last ever winner of the show.
The Norwich-born contestant has revealed that he’s since received “vile” messages on social media from people commenting on his sexuality. “It’s horrible logging onto social media and going through messages and having to sit and read nasty homophobic comments and abuse,” Cole said.
He added that he “wouldn’t feel safe walking down the streets holding hands with a guy.”
Alongside social media posts, Cole has also been shouted at in the street, allegedly being called a “f****** faggot” and also telling him to kill himself for being gay. The contestant also reports that he has received phone calls with abusive and homophobic comments shouted down the line.
‘It just makes me feel worthless when all this happens, and I am undeniably uncomfortable when out and about,” Cole said.
“Homophobia really isn’t anywhere near as dead as society thinks it is”
According to his management, Cole was met with a middle-aged businessman who shouted “look isn’t that the faggot off the TV?” to his colleagues when he noticed the star in a central London hotel.
‘It’s not just me who receives homophobia almost everyone in the community has received it at some point,” he added. “This is the reality, unfortunately. We’ve come a long way, but the truth is homophobia really isn’t anywhere near as dead as society thinks it is.
“You can change the laws with regards to marriage and parenting but that doesn’t change people’s mindsets.”
Cameron is now calling for tougher laws and support for people affected by abuse, whether it is physical or verbal. “We need to work to help young people, like me, who were afraid to come out in the first place,” Cole said in a press release.
“They need to know there is a strong support system and they can safely report any abuse they receive without feeling like it is a waste of time.”