Former footballer Stan Collymore has accused Twitter of “not doing enough” to combat racist and homophobic comments on the social media platform.
Police have confirmed they are investigating a series of offensive messages directed at the ex-England striker, which were sparked after the footbal pundit suggested Liverpool striker Luis Suárez cheated by diving during last Saturday’s match against Aston Villa.
Mr Collymore said: “In the last 24 hours I’ve been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why?
“I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.” He added later: “Several police forces have been fantastic. Twitter haven’t. Dismayed.”
The football pundit said he had been contacted on Twitter by gay people who have received “horrific abuse” and warned Twitter had a responsibility to act on illegal tweets.
He said he wanted to use Twitter to debate subjects including football.
“If we disagree… absolutely fine, but I shouldn’t be racially abused for it, I shouldn’t have somebody that tweets me two days ago saying, ‘I’m going to turn up at your house and murder you’,” he said.
“I mean this is just sheer lunacy and Twitter at the moment, I don’t think they know what to do.”
West Midlands Police confirmed on its Twitter page that Staffordshire Police were investigating “alleged abusive tweets to Stan Collymore” and urged people to block and report abuse at www.report-it.org.uk
A Twitter spokeswoman said the company was unable to comment on individual users.
However, she pointed out that targeted abuse was against its rules and the site had recently made it easier for users to report abusive messages to them.