Fans rally around H from Steps after singer hit with abuse for blocking Twitter ‘phobes’: ‘King’

Ian H Watkins laughing

The hashtag “Blocked by H from Steps” trended on Twitter after Ian “H” Watkins went on a blocking spree.

The singer attracted complaints after he appeared to block thousands of accounts, and soon enough Twitter users noticed a pattern – that many of those who’d been blocked used Twitter to share anti-trans or “gender-critical” opinions.

In a since-deleted post, Watkins confirmed that he “recently signed up for a clean-up of ‘bots’ and ‘phobes’,” the Independent reported.

It appeared that the service went too far, blocking accounts which fell into neither camp.

“Apologies if the blocking offended… I didn’t do this manually! Merry Christmas,” Watkins added.

A number of accounts, upset at his actions, took aim at Watkins for his pro-trans stance and attacked him for having children via surrogacy.

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Others rallied around the Steps singer.

Watkins made light of the situation posting memes, including an old photo of himself at a desk using a computer, with the caption: “Very busy day at the office… #blocked.”

H from Steps, as he’s commonly known, came out as gay in 2007 and has since become a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

After making history as one-half of Dancing on Ice‘s first same-sex couple, he called on producers to cast a trans contestant.

Previously he spoke out about the homophobic complaints he received while on the show, describing them as like “a dagger to the heart”.

The pop star, who shares twin sons with his former partner Craig Ryder, has also been forced to hit back at abuse he’s received online for raising children as a gay man.

Watkins’ bid to clear his feed of “phobes” a follows a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate on Twitter.

According to a Media Matters report, since it was taken over by Elon Musk, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric including use of the “groomer” slur has skyrocketed. 

Along with GLAAD, Media Matters analysed the tweets of nine prominent right-wing figures and accounts and found retweets of posts containing the word “groomer” see a 1,200 per cent increase since Musk’s takeover of the site.

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