‘Bullies drove my business to wall’
FACEBOOK bullies forced Calliope woman Emma Thompson to abandon her business that was selling clothing for larger women.
When a promotional competition calling for images of plus-sized women in their best outfits went viral, the business's Facebook page and website were overrun by abusive commentators.
Ms Thompson received death threats and her customers were abused.
"Bullying is out of control on Facebook," Ms Thompson said.
"You think it's only something that can happen to children, but there are adults who are severely bullied online."
The Calliope resident invested more than $10,000 in June to kickstart her online fashion business, Evalong Boulevard.
But emails, phone calls and texts conveying death threats towards Ms Thompson, her children and pets forced her to shutdown her business venture.
She said people had posted on her business's Facebook wall, "there's no room for fat people in this world" and "if you're too fat then go back to the gym".
That was enough to drive her customers away.
"The worst thing is that they said they'd come looking for my children, and that I was an idiot because my location services were on, so they know exactly where to find them," Ms Thompson said.
The stock at Evalong Boulevard is now selling at cost price, and its website and Facebook page have been taken down.
But since the business folded, women in similar situations have contacted Ms Thompson and together they formed Strangers United Against Bullying. The group plans to raise $100,000 for mental health awareness group Reach Out over the next month, starting with "Dress like a Hippy Day" awareness and fundraising event on October 17 in Gladstone.