Erin Napier doesn’t not take hate on social media lightly — especially when the trolls come after her daughter.
The Home Town star, 35, took to Instagram on Thursday night to speak directly to some commenters, explaining why their negative remarks hurt her and her family, and why she chose to take down a recent photo she'd posted of her daughter Helen, 3.
“Your quarterly PSA about how to be a decent person on social media,” she began, captioning a behind-the-scenes photo of her HGTV film crew, which she says is “my view for most of my days at work.”
“Because Ben and I have this job, it means we open ourselves up to the public in ways that are sometimes vulnerable and I think there’s value in that,” she wrote of having a hit HGTV show with her woodworker husband, 37. “I think there is a fine line between privacy and helping others by being vulnerable about some aspects of your life when you’re in the spotlight.”
“But tonight, because of this job we have, after posting a photo of the back of my daughter’s head (why do we never show her face? for her privacy and because of vicious strangers who lurk and comment or could seek her out) there were cruel comments within moments,” she continued, noting that people were saying hurtful things about Helen’s hair, as well as making comments about the family’s treatment of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As if from a tiny vignette you can see the whole picture of precaution and how we wear ourselves out keeping our family safe every day, the endless testing, while trying not to sacrifice every last shred of normalcy, when it’s as safe as it can possibly be,” she wrote, addressing the COVID comments.
It's unclear exactly what was shown in the photo of Helen that was quickly deleted.
Erin previously shared that she believed that she, Helen and her mother may have all had the virus early this year and have recovered.
Erin concluded the post by explaining that she “immediately” took the photo off of Instagram “to be a good steward of my baby’s image and protector of my heart” — but that doesn’t mean she’s letting the bullies win.
“Those comments and the people who make them are not welcome here. Full stop,” she wrote. “If you feel you may be a person capable of communicating this way, please see yourself away from my account or I’ll be glad to help you do that. 😘”
The designer has been outspoken about her complicated relationship with social media on multiple occasions in the past.
In September, she told fans she was going to be stepping away from Instagram for a bit for her mental health.
“The more I learn about social media, the more it frightens me,” she wrote at the time. “So I’m going to make an effort to spend less time here. People weren’t built to know the opinions of thousands or even hundreds of their ‘friends.’ The real world is a much nicer place, honestly.”
In July, Erin decided to turn off the comments on her Instagram posts, sharing that social media trolls and their hurtful messages had been impacting her wellbeing. “Turning off comments till 2021 feels like a good move,” she wrote at the time. “It’s getting harder to shoulder every opinion from every direction at all times about everything when everyone is freaking out constantly. There’s too much noise.”
She then asked that fans not worry about her decision, and instead embrace the change. “It’s nothing to freak out about. No need to shove. Have mercy. Show grace. Social media is for fun,” she wrote.
Though she turned comments off for a while, she soon changed the settings to allow limited, approved comments, and then slowly turned comments back on. Her most recent post has the comments turned off.
Comments on her most recent post, however, have been turned off.
Erin, a graphic designer by trade, and Ben, a former church minister, found HGTV fame after a producer for the network spotted their renovation of the 1925 craftsman cottage they were fixing up for themselves in their hometown of Laurel, Miss.
Now the Napiers command a growing home-improvement empire, including their series Home Town (now in its fourth season), plus the spinoff Home Town Takeover coming in 2021, two retail stores, a book and a furniture line.
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