Ben Fogle has hit back at social media trolls on Instagram after receiving abuse for sharing that he had received a coronavirus vaccine, and said he had already quit Twitter over previous death threats.
On Sunday, TV presenter Fogle posted a picture of himself receiving the jab, along with a caption about adding to his "vaccine passport" and explaining that he was being vaccinated as a carer for his daughter, who has epilepsy, and to protect the remote communities he works with.
Fogle also quipped: "I haven’t heard Bill Gates talking to me in my head yet (which if you think about it positively would be like having a free version of Microsoft Windows)."
Then, in a later post, he said he had been subjected to a barrage of abuse for showing that he had been vaccinated, and posted a screenshot of one of the more vicious comments.
The comment read: "I am absolutely disgusted by you preaching to others & citing a vaccine passport in your recent post, in addition having a side dig at people not wanting to be vaccinated...Shame on you, when you decide on a vasectomy can we rely on a pic on Instagram too, so you can site the pro's of that too you f*****g k******d."
Fogle wrote: "I got a LOT of these from my last post. Instagram is a little window into me, not the ‘me’ you want to see, but the ‘real’ me. The me me."
He added: "I’m just sharing stuff. I try to do so in a measured manner. That I like marmite doesn’t mean you have to like it too. That I have a vaccine doesn’t mean that you have to have one too.
"Free speech goes both ways and I understand that I can’t please all of the people all of the time, but remember you follow me. I don’t make you."
He said all his decisions were based on years of experience, including working on anti-malaria campaigns, having had pneumonia himself and having made a documentary about neglected diseases after contracting Leishmaniasis, as well as taking on board the opinions of four doctors in his family.
Fogle, who often presents programmes about remote parts of the UK, wrote: "I also have to be respectful to the people and remote communities that I spend time with. It would be inappropriate to spend time, as I do, with vulnerable, isolated people without a vaccine. I have always taken the flu vaccine not as a precaution to me but for others."
He said he had received online abuse on topics ranging from products he endorsed to children's books he had written, and had quit Twitter over death threats he and his daughter received for suggesting singing happy birthday to the Queen.
The 47-year-old Animal Park presenter finished: "This is me. Take me or leave me...Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours glow any brighter."
Watch: Ben Fogle gives up Animal Park salary to fund over-75s TV licence