Published: 14:40 BST, 14 August 2020 | Updated: 14:40 BST, 14 August 2020
Aston Merrygold has revealed he was ‘overcome with rage’ after discovering his two-year-old son Grayson had been targeted by a vile troll online.
The JLS star, 32, told his fans last month that his little boy’s Instagram account, which he runs with fiancée Sarah Richards, had received an offensive comment.
Appearing on Loose Women on Friday, Aston spoke candidly about his reaction to the finding the racial abuse and said he plans on ‘tackling this to the fullest’ extent.
Anger: Aston Merrygold told Loose Women on Friday that he was ‘overcome with rage’ after discovering his two-year-old son Grayson had been targeted by a vile troll on Instagram
Aston said: ‘I was overcome with rage. I was speaking to my partner, she had to calm me down. I was like, « I need to get in my car and I need to find this person. »
‘I’ve had thick skin since I was very young, experiencing racism, but as a parent, I was never prepared to see that.’
The singer added that after his initial reaction he then thought they needed to deal with the comment ‘the right way’.
He explained: ‘I said, « Right ok, we need to tackle this the right way. We need to do It publicly and make sure people can’t get away with this ».’
Family: The JLS singer said he wasn’t prepared to see the comment as a parent and his partner had to calm him down (pictured with fiancée Sarah Richards and their sons Grayson and two-month-old Macaulay)
‘Speaking to the police and social platforms, you need to keep reporting it. Blocking people and deleting messages [is not enough], you need to keep reporting it.
‘Talk about it. Keep it vocal. Everybody needs to be aware that this stuff goes on all the time. The more it’s reported the more power authorities will have.’
Kéllé Bryan then asked Aston if he’s going to do anything differently in the future regarding his Instagram posts.
Aston replied: ‘No, not at all. I’ve always been taught by my parents, by my relatives that you have to tackle this thing head on. No one has any right to be able to have hatred towards you, let alone racial hatred.
Taking action: Proud dad Aston said ‘you can’t ignore’ abuse online and that it must always be reported, adding that he’s ‘tackling this [the comment his son received] to the fullest’
‘We’re going to tackle this to the fullest. For me, it’s contacting the police, contacting Instagram, letting them know.
‘A lot of people said to me, « You should stay positive, ignore it. » The more we ignore it, the more people get away with it… more people need to report it.’
Aston explained that he came across the comment while checking the account and that the words were ‘there, point blank in my face.’
He told Loose Women that growing up as a black man, he’s never ‘hidden’ or been ‘ashamed’, so he’s going to tell his son about this when he’s older.
Adorable: The image that was targeted with the shocking abuse showed adorable Grayson donning a Red Sox baseball top as he stood beside his baby brother’s pram
Aston said: ‘From when they [Grayson and two-month old son Macaulay] grow up, they’re going to know this story and are always going to be able to hold their own.
‘For me now, in this situation, an account we used to celebrate our son has been abused. I run the account and so does my mrs, so whoever it is has got my attention… it’s like, « You can’t go around and think you can get away with it ».’
Aston first revealed the racial abuse his eldest son had received online in July, asking his followers to help him track down the troll.
Dad-of-two Aston wrote: ‘I need to know who this person is ASAP because from when you think you can move like this and write s**t on my sons page.’ [sic]
Disgusting: The JLS star, 32, took to his Instagram page back in July to share a screenshot of the offensive comment left on the tot’s page, while also expressing his disgust
Concluding his post, he added: ‘[Y]ou got the wrong one mate! So any information on @wickyaard need thrown my way now.’
He also shared a screenshot of the troll’s account who, clearly keen to conceal their identity, used a snap of Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson as their profile picture.
Aston received an outpouring of support from a large number of his followers, including celebrity pals like JLS bandmate Oritsé Williams and his former Strictly Come Dancing partner Janette Manrara.
Memories: Aston and Sarah run Grayson’s Instagram account so their family and friends can keep up with how the tot is doing
The image that was targeted with the shocking abuse showed adorable Grayson donning a Red Sox baseball top as he stood beside his baby brother’s pram.
A comedic caption was added, which read: ‘Big Bro Security… I also do other events such as birthdays, soft play and ice cream ques.’
Aston and his fiancée Sarah Lou Richards, who are also parents to two-month-old son Macaulay, run Instagram accounts for both their children.
Adorable: Aston beamed in a sweet family snap on Thursday after working out with his stunning fiancée Sarah, and the pair posed with sons Grayson and Macaulay
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Aston Merrygold, JLS, The X Factor (UK) Interactive, Loose Women, Strictly Come Dancing, Internet troll
World news – GB – Aston Merrygold reveals ‘rage’ after son received racial abuse online