Strictly judge Shirley Ballas receives hate mail at Darlington theatre

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Ms Ballas said she had suffered “quite a lot of bullying”

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas had hate mail hand-delivered to a theatre in Darlington where she is appearing in pantomime.

Ms Ballas condemned the “cowardly” act in a video post on Instagram in which she said the note contained “not nice comments or words”.

As well as several expletives, the note also said it was a “sad day” when she was made head judge on the BBC show.

In November she told BBC Breakfast she had also suffered online abuse.

Ms Ballas, who is starring in the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at the Darlington Hippodrome, said it was “cowardly to just drop off at my place of work” and that “enough is enough now”.

In the post, the 59-year-old said: “As we know, I had quite a lot of bullying on Strictly this time, and my inbox on Instagram was full of horrific and horrendous messages, but this has gone a step further now.

“I’ve had a hand-delivered message which I’m going to share with you, hand-delivered to the Hippodrome, addressed to me, with not such nice comments or words.

“My message for young people, or anybody out there who receives awful messages or hate mail or things from people that don’t know them, the issue is the other person’s, it’s not so much ours, even though I do find it quite upsetting when I’ve been out there performing, and then I read something like this from someone who doesn’t even know me.”

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Shirley Ballas urged people “not to be fazed” by bullies

She added: “The message out there is to be strong going into 2020, really, really love yourself and don’t be fazed by the bullies.”

In November, Ms Ballas told BBC Breakfast: “I’ve had more online bullying this time than I’ve had in any series of Strictly, particularly direct messaging, more so from the younger fans if their chosen one gets sent away.

“My concern is not so much for myself, it’s for the younger people out there… if they do that kind of bullying online, what do they do in the workplace, what do they do at the school? So my concern is always for the younger generation.”

Fellow Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse replied: “Love you miss @shirleyballas there are always going to be sad people on this world! Lets us just ignore the negative!!! Happy new year miss you!!”

Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman added: “We love you xxxx.”

Ms Ballas, who is performing as Mother Nature in the panto for the last time on Sunday, became the head judge on Strictly after Len Goodman’s departure.

The BBC has approached Ms Ballas’ management to see if police have been informed, but have yet to receive a response.

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