David Paisley: Scottish actor and domestic violence campaigner leaves Scotland because he ‘no longer feels safe in his home’
Actor and LGBTQ+ equality campaigner David Paisley has announced his decision to leave Scotland “for his own safety” after online abuse and threats began to “spill over” into his private life.
The 42-year-old star of BBC soap operas River City and Holby City told Twitter followers on Tuesday that he made the decision “in part because I no longer felt safe in my home.”
The out gay actor said: “I love Scotland, and I've so much love for Glasgow.
“I think Scotland has an amazing future,” he added, “I just have to do what's right for me and my wellbeing.”
Speaking to Pink News, Mr Paisley, originally from Falkirk, said he had received a “large amount of online abuse over the last year from anti-LGBTQ+ accounts” - including death threats and accusations that he abuses women and children.
“This started to spill over into my work and home life,” he explained.
“An anti-LGBTQ+ group made false malicious complaints to the BBC” and “organised their followers on Twitter to do the same”.
Despite an official BBC investigation concluding that the complaints had no merit, the actor, who is also a vocal campaigner against domestic violence said it was “very distressing” to be targeted at his workplace.
Mr Paisley said events had escalated in recent weeks, when a man who claimed to know his home address sent him threatening messages.
“I had to leave my home for my own safety,” he explained.
Though the messages were forwarded to the police, Mr Paisley said he has “struggled with feeling unsafe both at home, at work and when I’m out in public in Scotland.
“I was having panic attacks, and it’s caused a lot of stress and anxiety,” he said, adding that he had “stopped going out and became very withdrawn”.
“It had a very profound impact on my mental health, and I had to get support from my local mental health team and my employer.”
Mr Paisley said that while Scotland remained his “home”, he felt the change was both “positive and worthwhile.”
“I’m just sad that part of the reason I’ve had to make these changes is the actions of abusive anti-LGBTQ+ people online and in Scotland, that make it hard for LGBTQ+ people to live freely and feel safe.
“Scotland should be a place where all people feel free to live and be who they are without fear of abuse, intimidation or discrimination”.
In a later tweet, Mr Paisley expressed solidarity with Scotland’s LGBTQ+ community
“You'll always have my support and love, and I stand beside you always as an ally, a friend & proud LGBTQ+ rights advocate.”
He also acknowledged that “not everyone has the luxury to be able to move and start again elsewhere.”
Mr Paisley, who left the cast of the River City earlier this year, told The Scotsman he would miss the production.
“I've had a lovely couple of years in the show, it's a really happy set and I'm going to miss everyone.
“It's a great place to work,” he added.