Big Brother winner from Norwich targeted with homophobic abuse
- Credit: Archant
The winner of the last series of Big Brother has called for tougher laws after he received homophobic abuse in the street.
Norwich-born Cameron Cole, 19, was dubbed 'The Public's Favourite' when he became the youngest ever winner of Big Brother during its final series.
The teenager, who came out as gay for the first time on the show, was one of 14 contestants to enter the Big Brother house in 2018.
He told host Emma Willis he could never have come out without the support of his housemate, Lewis F.
But Mr Cole says he has since revived 'vile' messages on social media and been shouted at in the street.
He has also had phone calls at all hours of the day and night with abusive comments shouted down the line.
Last week in a central London hotel, a middle-aged businessman shouted a homophobic slur about Mr Cole to his colleagues.
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Mr Cole said: 'It just makes me feel worthless when all this happens, and I am undeniably uncomfortable when out and about.
'It's horrible logging onto social media and going through messages and having to sit and read nasty homophobic comments and abuse. I wouldn't feel safe walking down the streets holding hands with a guy.'
'It's not just me who receives homophobia,' he continued. 'Almost everyone in the community has received it at some point.'
Mr Cole is now calling for tougher laws and support for people affected by abuse, whether it is physical or verbal.
'We need to work to help young people, like me, who were afraid to come out in first place,' he said.
'They need to know there is a strong support system and they can safely report any abuse they receive without feeling like it is a waste of time.'