Kieron Richardson received homophobic abuse from football fans recently after a mix-up with a footballer with the same name.
Footballer Kieran Richardson signed for Aston Villa on Friday (July 11), but Sky Sports and Aston Villa’s official website mistakenly used a picture of the Hollyoaks actor when reporting the news.
The confusion resulted in messages of abuse being sent to Kieron on Twitter from what he has described as a “a minute section” of fans.
Speaking on his Gaydio radio show (via Digital Spy), he said: “It’s made me feel very sad for the past couple of days.”
He added that he thought the mix-up was “quite funny” until he saw that some football fans thought he was actually leaving the Channel 4 soap to play for the Premier League team.
“Being openly gay, [I] was targeted with abuse [from people] going, ‘You gay blah blah blah, we’re not having you playing for our team’. [It was] homophobic abuse all night long.
“At first I thought, ‘I’m not having this, I’m going to stick up for myself’. I started to reply to a few people, which spurred it on even more,” he said.
The 28-year-old said that he is worried that the online abuse may dissuade young people from coming out.
“If anything, I know that I’m gay, you can tweet me and tell me I’m gay – it’s not a shock to me,” he said. “I know what I get up to in the bedroom and I’m not sad about that.
“I am sad for other people and their attitudes. If this case has now stopped one person from coming out and has frightened them, then it’s a terrible situation.”