Daily Mail writer Samantha Brick insists she has no regrets over an article in yesterday's paper claiming women hated her for being beautiful – despite triggering a furious online backlash.
Yesterday's article quickly Mail Online's top story, saw more than 4,500 comments left on the website and began trending on Twitter. The website revealed this morning that Brick's article racked up more than 1.5million hits and was shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook.
But comments left on the website and Twitter were overwhelmingly negative, labelling Brick 'delusional'and accusing her of being deliberately provocative.
In yesterday's article she wrote: 'While I'm no Elle Macpherson, I'm tall, slim, blonde and, so I'm often told, a good-looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty – the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks."
In a follow up piece this morning Brick said the past 24 hours had been 'among the most horrendous of my life". She described the response as 'extraordinary in its volume and vitriol" and "beyond anything I could have imagined when I first started work at my keyboard".
She admitted, however, that she was aware the article would provoke debate and even explained to the editor that "I was fully aware I was setting myself up for a fall".
'Yet even I could never have imagined the fury my piece would spawn and the thousands upon thousands of nasty comments I've been subjected to since it was published,'she said.
'Other people who don't know me have queued up to call me ugly, stupid, a b****. Then there are those who have sought out my email address and bombarded my inbox with bile-filled messages – over 1,000 so far.
'I've had malicious mail from everyone from Swedish crime writers to bored housewives asking me what planet I'm on for daring to write such a feature."
'Yes, I'm a good-looking woman - albeit one that has feelings, too'
But she went on to strike a defiant tone, adding: 'While I've been shocked and hurt by the global condemnation, I have just this to say: my detractors have simply proved my point.
'Their level of anger only underlines that no one in this world is more reviled than a pretty woman."
Brick was inundated with calls from the media yesterday asking her to defend herself in the face of the Twitterstorm. She said most of them conceded that she was 'all right as a person and had a point in writing the piece"
'No one bothered to ask how I was coping,'she said. 'But what everyone wanted to know, vulture-like, was what it's like to be so hated and reviled. Well, I'll tell you what it's like: it's soul-destroying."
Today's article concluded: 'Yes, I have cried on and off all day. But do I regret my article? Not at all. I know I'm risking the wrath of the online community once more, but there is an irony to yesterday.
'While I was tearfully dealing with the emails and calls outside the supermarket, a young man approached me, offered to park my car and even get me a coffee. He could see I was having a tough time – and yes, my looks had helped me out again.
'I know women reading this will think I deserve to be attacked again. But why should I be? Yes, I'm a good-looking woman – albeit one that has feelings, too."