Strictly’s Layton Williams urges viewers to ‘be kind’ amid ‘overwhelming’ trolling

Layton Williams and his dance partner Nikita Kuzmin on Strictly Come Dancing.

Fans have leapt to the defence of Strictly Come Dancing contestant Layton Williams after the actor said he had been targeted by hateful trolls.

On Sunday (1 October), the queer Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star shared a selfie of himself laying on a sofa, giving a peace sign.

In the photo’s caption, the 29-year-old said the “messages of love” following his performance on Strictly on Saturday night (30 September) were “overwhelming”, but so was the “low key trolling” he’d received.

“I’m just here to have fun like all the other contestants,” he wrote.

“I’m trying to handle this with a smile and determination to slay another day but reminder, #BeKind.”

Since Layton Williams was announced as a contestant on the BBC celebrity dancing competition, he has endured a slew of criticism from viewers who believe he has an “unfair advantage” due to his musical theatre and dance background.

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Fellow contestants including former EastEnders star Nigel Harman also have a musical theatre background, but do not appear to have received similar backlash.

Williams has also endured a wave anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry due to his appearance on the competition. Last week, the Bad Education star hilariously brushed off one troll who referred to him as a “fairy”.

“These two turn my stomach,” the troll wrote in response to a video of Williams and his male professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin appearing on ITV breakfast show Lorraine.

“Why do gays like him act like this dancer. I know of gay men that don’t act and talk like this. This fairy girly way of acting is not normal.”

In a simple yet scathing response, Williams shared a photo of himself posing mid-dance, with the caption: “Team Fairy!”

Following Williams’ post about the social media abuse he’s received, he was inundated with love from Strictly Come Dancing fans and fellow celebrities.

“Don’t listen to the haters Layton I was mesmerised by yours and Nikita’s performance. You are a true star and that irritates some but exhilarates most,” wrote TV presenter Les Dennis, who became the first Strictly contestant to be eliminated from the series on Sunday (1 October).

In a short but sweet message, singer Mae Muller, this year’s UK Eurovision act, wrote: “We love you Layton,” alongside a heart.

“Ignore the trolls Layton. You’re doing FANTASTIC,” added trans broadcaster India Willoughby.

“You are loved by so many who support you and stand with you always. Don’t let the trolls get to you – they’ve got nothing better to do,” wrote one fan. “Keep smiling, keep slaying, you’re doing a fantastic job on the dance floor.”

“You were amazing. And as the mum of a lovely gay man I’m delighted to see representation on Strictly,” shared another.

Layton Williams managed to secure the highest score of the series so far on Saturday night’s show, being awarded 36 out of 40 points for his quickstep routine.

Strictly Come Dancing continues this Saturday (7 October) at 6.20pm on BBC One.