A mixed-race couple have been the subject of abuse online after appearing in the latest Lidl ad campaign.
Fiona Ryan and her fiance Jonathan Mathis, who live in Co Meath, are considering leaving the country after they had to tell gardaí four times that the online abuse was an attack on their family when they reported it.
Fiona told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning that she was phoned by the producer of the TV commercial earlier this month to alert her to a tweet sent by former journalist Gemma O’Doherty. The producer told her: “We wanted you to hear it from us first.”
Ms O’Doherty’s tweet on September 7 said: “German dump @lidl_ireland gaslighting the Irish people with their multicultural version of ‘The Ryans’. Kidding no-one! Resist the Great Replacement wherever you can by giving this kip a wide berth. #ShopIrish #BuyIrish.”
Fiona and Jonathan, who is originally from Brazil and grew up in the UK, also feature on a billboard ad which was launched earlier this month.
Fiona said: “When I first saw (the comments on Twitter) I was shaking… I couldn’t believe that someone would take a picture of us and look at it negatively.”
As more and more comments were tweeted, Fiona collated the tweets and went to the gardaí.
She said: “I had to insist, like, four times that this was an attack on my family.”
Lidl reported the tweets to Twitter, asking for the tweets to be removed, which the social media firm did.
They said: “We have decided to block and report (Gemma O’Doherty) to @Twitter . . . We are contacting the Ryan family regarding this online abuse and will be providing support after this unprovoked attack.”
Now, Fiona is considering leaving the country as she does not want her 22-month-old son to grow up in a country “that doesn’t protect his human civil right to be who he is ….Of course I’m not going to live and stay in a country that does that to my child”.
She also told Sean that her fiance Jonathan was really hurt that their child was brought into the abuse, saying: “We need change and we feel like it’s our duty to help that happen in Ireland.”