A Dublin based author and illustrator has suffered horrendous harassment online after an article of hers appeared in a Junior Cert English exam.
Aoife Dooley, who is best known for creating the popular ‘Your One Nikita’ comic and TV series on the RTE Player, wrote an article for the Irish Times ‘Sound Off’ section in 2017 which appeared in this year’s English paper for 3rd year students.
Dooley says she wasn’t aware that her piece was going to be featured in the exam until the day of the test, and also says that she didn’t approve of any changes that were made to the text that appeared on the paper.
The article discusses issues with using public transport, including when someone opens a fragrant packet of crisps, referencing the pickled-onion flavoured Meanies.
Dooley says some of the language was changed in the exam paper, such as referring to people as ‘idiots’ instead of ‘poxes’.
Since her piece appeared in the exam, Dooley has received a number of threats online from teens across the country and took to Twitter to highlight the messages she was receiving.
Dooley, who poignantly discussed being diagnosed with Autism as an adult in 2018, wrote: “All up for a laugh, memes are funny but some of the abuse I’m getting is nothing short of vile. ‘I’ll hit you so hard you won’t be Autistic anymore’ etc.
“Honestly it has gone too far now and all over an article I wrote a long time ago that I never knew would be in the [Junior Cert].”
The comedian also shared examples of some of the threats she was receiving, saying that the messages weren’t specific to one particular platform, and that she was getting messages through Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Really don’t know what to do…. still getting hundreds of messages per min [sic] and weird ones.
“If you have a son or daughter please talk to them about this and explain why it’s not funny or ok,” Dooley posted, alongside a screenshot of a message sent to her on Instagram.
In the message, someone threatened to ‘cut her legs off and stick her in an ISIS video’ and detailing that people had referenced sexually assaulting her and ‘bombing her house’.
I’m all up for having a joke but this really has gone too far, ridiculously far and it’s really just not funny anymore. At all— Aoife Dooley (@Aoife_Dooley) June 6, 2019
On Thursday afternoon, Dooley said she had reported harassment to An Garda Siochana and that she would ‘more than likely’ have to deactivate her social media.
“I didn’t ask for any of this. Anyone under the illusion that I’m ‘looking for attention’ needs to ask themselves why [anyone] would anyone want THIS sort of attention.
“This is really emotional for me (especially because Autistic [sic]) and I’m extremely overwhelmed by this whole situation and it’s really making me consider the work I do and if it’s worth it at all after this.
“It’s had a massive impact on my mental health and well-being.”
Dublin Gazette have contacted the State Examination Commission for comment.