Brian May on social media bullying: “I’ll never feel the same about Instagram again”

3 February 2019, 17:56 | Updated: 3 February 2019, 18:01

Brian May at the Golden Globe Awards, January 2019
Brian May at the Golden Globe Awards, January 2019. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Queen legend has admitted that a recent incident on the social media network has “shocked and saddened” him.

Brian May has admitted that a recent controversy on Instagram has caused him to reconsider the effect of social media.

The Queen guitarist was condemned for appearing to support Bryan Singer, the director of the Bohemian Rhapsody film, who is facing allegations of sexual assault. After a fan advised May to unfollow Bryan Singer on Twitter, the Queen guitarist angrily responded: "You need to look after your own business and stop telling me what to do.”

May subsequently apologised, but in a new Instagram post, the musician admitted that “I don’t feel the urge to be very interactive right now” and that “I will never quite feel the same about Instagram again”.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Brian May

View this post on Instagram

Packing up after a very productive photo session with brilliant photographer Rankin. Thanks @rankinarchive !!! And ... yes, I have backed off a little. I don’t feel the urge to be very interactive right now. Thanks for the good wishes, good IG pals. Thanks for caring. Yes, that sudden shitstorm last week on my own IG comments page did shock and sadden me. And it has changed the way I feel about a lot of things. It’s made me ask myself all over again why we all want to do this. Why we want to ‘perform’ on Instagram - what we are looking for. And it taught me a lesson which should have been obvious for a long time ago, and perhaps is good for us all to remember. It’s a terrible mistake to imagine that all your ‘followers’ are your friends. Thanks again to all of you who believed and supported me in my hour of being pilloried. I’m not going to do anything dramatic. I’m still here. But I will never quite feel the same about Instagram again. That feeling of trust has gone. It’s made me look again at those stories of kids being bullied to the point of suicide by social media posts from their ‘friends’, who have turned on them. I now know first hand what it’s like to feel you’re in a safe place, being relaxed and open and unguarded, and then, on a word, to be suddenly be ripped into. It’s OK - I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m a grown-up - I can deal with it. I’ll just behave a little differently from now on. Take care out there, folks - and I mean that ! Cheers! Bri

A post shared by Brian Harold May (@brianmayforreal) on

In an honest post, May thanked fans for their positive wishes but revealed that the incident had “shocked and saddened” him.

“It’s made me ask myself all over again why we all want to do this,” he continued. “It taught me a lesson which should have been obvious for a long time ago…

“It’s a terrible mistake to imagine that all your ‘followers’ are your friends. That feeling of trust has gone. It’s made me look again at those stories of kids being bullied to the point of suicide by social media posts from their ‘friends’, who have turned on them.

“I now know first hand what it’s like to feel you’re in a safe place, being relaxed and open and unguarded, and then, on a word, to be suddenly be ripped into.

“It’s OK - I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m a grown-up - I can deal with it. I’ll just behave a little differently from now on.”

He revealed: “I’m not going to do anything dramatic. I’m still here. But I will never quite feel the same about Instagram again.”

May's post comes in the same week that the children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield called on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to regain control of “horrific” content.

The father of 14-year-old Molly Russell claimed that social media’s coverage of self-harm was partly to blame for his daughter’s suicide, prompting Longfield to write: “The recent tragic cases of young people who had accessed and drawn from sites that post deeply troubling content around suicide and self-harm, and who in the end took their own lives, should be a moment of reflection.”

READ MORE: Brian May apologises to fan on Instagram

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