TV & Radio
X-Factor contestant Fletcher Mills has hit back at cyber bullies who have taken to his Facebook page to tell him he's "ruining the show".
Since Mills was announced as the wild card winner - earning him a place back on the X-Factor show after being sent home - cyber trolls and bullies have bombarded his Facebook page with vitriol.
TV3 moderate their own Facebook pages across a wide range of shows, but have no authority to stop trolls finding other avenues to vent their frustrations.
Since last night's shock elimination of Taye Williams, the trolling appears to have stepped up a notch, with hundreds leaving Mills nasty comments.
The 17-year-old from Wellington posted last night that he knew he needed to perform better but he would not listen to malicious comments.
"Yes I didn't perform as well as Taye, yes I was pitchy, yes I need better songs. I was expecting to be in the bottom two, as a viewer my performance was very weak.
"There's no point in making excuses, but I'm getting used to a lot of new things on this show and I'm definitely not going to listen to people that want me to fail more than succeed.
"Comment if you want, but you're just telling me what I already know," he said.
He received more than 500 replies in less than a day, both from trolls and supporters.
Hateful comments from users included one from Wai LJ Bartlett, saying
"...Do yourself a favour & get off, your ruining the show".
Co-executive producers for X-Factor, John McDonald and Andrew Szusterman, condemned the bullying.
In a joint statement, the pair said it was "great to be passionate about the show", and they encouraged opinion, "but we don't condone the trolling that's taking place on social media".
"Some of what we've seen over the past 24 hours is plain schoolyard bullying. Our contestants work incredibly hard to perform for you each week and are dealing with the limelight with real dignity and grace.
"We're proud of every one of them and they have the full support of The X Factor production team and TV3."
A commenter named Israel Lawrence showed themselves to be particularly nasty by writing: "Most of the people that are voting for you are 14year old... girls that are voting cause your good looking when really your MUD [sic]".
Many other comments were too offensive to publish.
Mills was sent home by the judges after the judges' retreat but viewers voted him back on as a wild card.
See Mills perform on Anzac Day last year:
- © Fairfax NZ News