Heartstopper star Joe Locke says quitting Twitter was best decision he ever made

Actor Joe Locke wearing a pink suit jacket over a black shirt poses for a photo at the 2022 Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards

Joe Locke has talked about dealing with his post-Heartstopper popularity and hateful Twitter trolls.

When streaming giant Netflix released the first season of the queer teen romance in April last year, based on the graphic novels of the same name by Alice Oseman, a few things happened almost instantly.

LGBTQ+ fans of all ages reacted with joy and immediately demanded a second season, praising the show’s positive representation of queer characters and falling in love with Yasmin Finney’s Elle, Tobie Donovan’s Isaac and, of course, Kit Connor and Locke’s central lovebirds, Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring.

The show also received widespread critical acclaim, garnering a 100 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and provided a much-needed respite from thematically darker contemporaries such as It’s a Sin and Euphoria.

But, as Locke and Connor learnt, with great popularity comes great scrutiny. Locke was forced to speak about “gross” speculation surrounding his love life and revealed that he was the subject of Twitter trolling.

Both he and on-screen boyfriend Connor subsequently deleted their Twitter accounts, and Connor was forced to come out as bisexual over allegations of queer-baiting.

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Now, Locke, set to be seen in Marvel’s WandaVision spin-off Agatha: Coven of Chaos, has revealed how he now deals with various online opinions – including the deletion of his Twitter account.

“[It] was the best decision I made,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m a very private person. If I look at the hugeness of the world that I’m entering, I will combust, which is something I’ve learned the hard way post-Heartstopper.”

Joe Locke also praised co-star Kit Connor, for his “amazing” support throughout their shared journey.

“There [are] not many people who can understand what it is to suddenly have people caring about what you do, what you wear, what you look like and what you say. Every single thing you do is scrutinised.”

Although Locke’s role in Agatha: Coven of Chaos has not been officially revealed, co-star and musical theatre powerhouse Patti LuPone revealed details of Marvel’s casting secrets in a recent interview on The View.

According to LuPone – and despite fan speculation – Locke will be playing “A Familiar” – a witch’s companion.

Locke is also set to return for Heartstopper‘s second – and “darker” and “more mature” – season.

Heartstopper returns to Netflix on 3 August.