Comedian Rosie Jones responds to online abuse after recent TV appearances

Comedian Rosie Jones has opened up about her experiences with online trolls, admitting that she’s had to develop a thick skin.

Jones, who has cerebral palsy, says she is inundated with abuse every time she appears on TV, and has been a vocal campaigner against ableism.

In a new interview with The Guardian, she said: “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t upset me, but luckily I am surrounded by such a strong network of brilliant friends, family, colleagues who support me.

“Do I need a thick skin? Yes, I bloody do. But I’m able to switch it off, I don’t look at social media when I’m on TV and I focus on the positives.”

Jones recalled how people – particularly those with disabilities – often approach her to thank her for “making us feel seen and worthy and valid”.

The comedian began in the television industry through a trainee programme established to help underrepresented people get into the industry. Jones was a TV researcher before she became a comic.

“That was so important to me because I know how hard it is to start in the television industry when you’ve got a disability,” she added.

Jones: ‘Do I need a thick skin? Yes, I bloody do’ (Channel 4)
Jones: ‘Do I need a thick skin? Yes, I bloody do’ (Channel 4)

Jones also praised the TV producers she is working with on her new panel show, Out of Order, for ensuring the set was “fully accessible”, but called for further awareness and inclusion across the industry.

“I spend a lot of my time and energy fitting into a non-disabled world, and over time that is so exhausting,” she said.

In July last year, Jones released a one-off programme for Channel 4, the controversially titled Am I a R*****?, which delved into her experiences of ableist abuse. 

Addressing the title at the time, Jones said that she had chosen it in order to reclaim the slur that had been “used as a weapon towards me all my life”.

“I need to say, first and foremost: it was my choice, my idea,” she said. “I really wanted to take control of it and say, ‘This is not OK’...

“I understand that some people may be offended, or will be very upset by it, but at the same time, it is unfortunately still a word that has been used every day towards me.”

Out of Order premieres on 26 February on Comedy Central.