X FACTOR star Joe McElderry has become the latest victim of Twitter trolls.
The 20-year-old, of Westoe, South Shields, was subjected to homophobic abuse on the social networking site yesterday.
A user of the site, under the name of Bryden Morgan, of Inverness, Scotland, tweeted the star, saying: “ahahaha nice success you’ve had after x-factor you gay ****!!”.
Joe, who won the show in 2009 and has since released three studio albums, replied saying: “and judging by your profile pic you’ve clearly had a lot of success”.
One angry fan told the Gazette today: “There are people who say things like that to him quite often.
“His fans always jump straight in to defend him and he always tells us to just ignore the haters, so the fact that he’s actually replied this time must mean that it’s really got to him.”
Joe, who also won ITV1’s Popstar to Operastar last year, has more than 305,000 followers on Twitter, who were upset by the comments.
Fans were quick to tweet Morgan and express their disgust at what he had said, branding him “jealous”.
Morgan appeared to be remorseful at first, tweeting: “ok I apologize (sic) for the gay part it was mainly to insult him about x-factor”.
But then he tweeted further saying he had “a gang of gay rights activists” attacking him and that Joe’s fans had no right to get their “knickers in a twist” over it.
Recent cases in Twitter abuse have seen arrests and convictions of those sending abusive messages to celebrities.
High profile victims include Newcastle United stars James Perch and Sammy Ameobi, and former footballer Stan Collymore.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Police received reports yesterday from a member of the public with concerns of comments made on Twitter.
“Enquiries were carried out and no complaints have been made.”
Joe’s management today declined to comment.