Alex Scott has been targeted by ‘awful trolls’ on social media after she was tipped to be in the running to replace Sue Barker on A Question Of Sport.
The former England and Arsenal footballer, 35, was rumoured to have secured the gig on Wednesday after the after Sue, 64, was axed as host after 24 years.
Now Alex, who is of Irish and Jamaican descent, has received thousands of racist comments online and has been contacted by a troll hunting firm, reports The Sun.
Online abuse: Alex Scott has been targeted by ‘awful trolls’ on social media after she was said to be in the running to replace host Sue Barker on A Question Of Sport
A source called the comments ‘disgusting’, adding that: ‘What should be a really exciting time for Alex has been marred by these awful trolls.
‘Thousands of people have been supportive but it’s the negative ones Alex will remember. She’s only human.’
They added: ‘It’s ridiculous that racism is still around in this day and age and that people can be so nasty.’
MailOnline has contacted a representative for Alex and the BBC for a comment.
End of an era: Sue, 64, has been axed from the BBC show, alongside team captains Matt Dawson (left) and Phil Tufnell (right) and Alex has been widely tipped to replace her
Defuse Global is a company established by Philip Grindell and the CEO is said to have reached out to Alex after she was bombarded with messages.
Alex has previously spoken about being the target of trolls and spoken candidly about how she’s asked for help in the past.
In conversation with Watford captain Troy Deeney as part of the Heads Up campaign focusing on mental health, the star revealed the extent to which the online ‘trolling’ affected her.
On screen: Alex has received thousands of ‘disgusting’ messages since her name was linked to the sports show (pictured during a previous appearance on A Question Of Sport in 2016)
‘When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling,’ she said.
‘I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her. I was just that person (who thought) ‘I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff’ but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way.
‘I got to a dark place and it was over Christmas, that’s when I was like ‘I can’t carry on like this, it’s not me, I need to seek help’ and that led me into therapy.
‘I want to take that stigma away from it. Now when I talk about mental health, straight away I’m smiling because I know what it’s done for me to leave that place. I’m content. I’m happy, and I’ve used the tools that I’ve learned to be in that place.’
It comes after Gary Lineker caused a furore when he tweeted that Alex had been confirmed as Sue Barker’s replacement, leaving the BBC forced to deny the appointment had been made.
Family: Alex, pictured with her mother, Carol in March 2019, is of Irish and Jamaican descent
The 59-year-old BBC pundit wrote on Twitter on Thursday: ‘Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport.
‘Smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role. Oh… and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.’
A BBC Spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘This is all speculation, and no conversations have been made about the future line-up.’
Former Strictly contestant Alex has been rumoured to become Sue’s replacement after she was axed as host after 24 years, alongside team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell earlier this week.
Alex is of Irish and Jamaican descent and the wording of Gary’s tweet about her appointment also seemed to ire the masses when he was accused of ‘race-baiting people for an argument’.
Congratulations and good luck: Gary was accused of ‘race-baiting’ after he prematurely confirmed the news on Twitter and called out anyone who had a problem with the decision
They wrote: ‘Lineker is real race baiter – seems he loves to stir things – I like Alex Scott – but Lineker should just get on with his other job as housing Officer ( to anyone but British) #DefundTheBBC.’
‘What a smug, arrogant man you are! What was the point of that last comment? no need! You’re just baiting people for an argument.
‘If she’s the right person for the job then good for her, no need to bring colour into it. You’re part of the problem!’ Your last comment of your tweet is part of the problem stop starting a stupid debate!!’
Gary’s latest post comes days after he appeared to shrug off the new BBC director-general’s warning to staff to cut out political tweeting as it is revealed he will not be bound by the new impartiality rules.
Tone deaf: Gary was accused of ‘baiting people for an argument’ with his latest post
The outspoken Match of the Day presenter suggested he was relaxed by Tim Davie’s anti-bias drive, which called upon staff to rein in their social media.
He replied ‘nah’ in response to suggestions he should be ‘terrified’ of the clampdown.
As a freelance presenter Lineker has space to voice his opinions and has not been hamstrung by the BBC’s code of impartiality which restricts full-time employees.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘[Lineker] is not involved in any news or political output for the BBC and, as such, any expression of his personal political views does not affect the BBC’s impartiality.’
Meanwhile, a source claimed that rumours Alex would be given the new job had ‘nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke’.
Celebrity reactions: TV star Richard Osman and Piers Morgan also waded into the debate about Alex’s rumoured appointment following Gary’s tweet
An insider told The Sun that Alex was ‘lined up’ as Sue’s replacement because she has lots of sporting knowledge and experience.
They said: ‘Like Sue, she’s a former sportswoman and she also has five years of broadcasting under her belt.
‘This has nothing to do with gender, nor is it a case of the BBC trying to be woke.’
The source also explained how Alex had impressed BBC bosses when she appeared on the show in the past.
The BBC has failed to reach its 2020 target for Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) leaders, they admitted on Tuesday.
In a briefing to outline their annual report, new director-general Tim Davie told journalists that the organisation needs to ‘do better on diversity’.
The BBC launched a report in 2018, which committed to a 15% BAME leadership target by 2020.
They pledged to appoint at least two BAME members on every senior leadership group by the end of 2020.
Career: Alex has previously played for England and Arsenal before becoming a successful TV presenter (pictured in 2017)