Taskmaster’s Rosie Jones responds to trolls criticising her casting

Rosie Jones has responded to an online troll who targeted her after it was announced she would be a contestant on the forthcoming series of Taskmaster.

The comedian, 33, will star in the 18th season of the Bafta-winning Channel 4 game show alongside fellow comedians Emma Sidi, Jack Dee, Babatunde Aléshé and Andy Zaltzman.

Jones, who has cerebral palsy and has been a vocal campaigner against ableism, shared a message she received from a man who claimed he wouldn’t be watching the upcoming series of Taskmaster because Jones is “ruining” the show and “guaranteed to win it”.

Posting on her Instagram story, Jones responded: “Everyone feel sorry for Bradley, who is going to miss one of the best series. Cute that he thinks he knows who is going to win though.”

The comedian has previously spoken out about the online abuse she routinely faces after TV appearances. Speaking to the Guardian in February, Jones admitted nasty comments do still “upset” her and she’s had to develop a “thick skin”.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t upset me, but luckily I am surrounded by such a strong network of brilliant friends, family, colleagues who support me,” she said.

“Do I need a thick skin? Yes, I bloody do. But I’m able to switch it off, I don’t look at social media when I’m on TV and I focus on the positives.”

Rosie Jones has called out trolls who are unhappy with her recent casting on the forthcoming series of Channel 4’s ‘Taskmaster’
Rosie Jones has called out trolls who are unhappy with her recent casting on the forthcoming series of Channel 4’s ‘Taskmaster’ (PA Wire)

Jones recalled how people – particularly those with disabilities – often approach her to thank her for “making us feel seen and worthy and valid”.

The comedian began in the TV industry through a trainee programme established to help under-represented people get into the industry. Jones was a TV researcher before she became a comic.

“That was so important to me because I know how hard it is to start in the television industry when you’ve got a disability,” she added.

In July last year, Jones released a one-off programme for Channel 4, the controversially titled Am I a R*****?, which delved into her experiences of ableist abuse. 

Addressing the title at the time, Jones said that she had chosen it in order to reclaim the slur that had been “used as a weapon towards me all my life”.

“I need to say, first and foremost: it was my choice, my idea,” she said. “I really wanted to take control of it and say, ‘This is not OK’…

“I understand that some people may be offended, or will be very upset by it, but at the same time, it is unfortunately still a word that has been used every day towards me.”