“I don’t understand why people feel like they can say on social media things they would never say in person,” the Home Town star, 35, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 13, while promoting her HGTV show. “I’ve never behaved that way on social media. I just expect everyone to have the same level of polite conversation.”
The reality star has used negative comments from trolls as “teaching moments” over the years while raising her 3-year-old daughter, Helen, she added.
“I typically have a rude comment from someone and I can look at their profile and see this is a mother who has children,” Erin explained to Us. “This is another woman attacking me as a woman or a mother or whatever. I like to begin with: ‘You would absolutely not speak to me this way in person. Why do you feel like it’s okay to do it here? It’s not. And this little corner of the Internet belongs to me so you’re not welcome here anymore.’ … Any time someone feels like they can be rude on my social media account, I’d like to let them know this isn’t an acceptable way to communicate and you’re not going to be welcome here anymore, and I block them.”
The Mississippi native’s husband, Ben Napier, chimed in, saying that if online criticism is “here to stay,” there is no “bright future.”
The Home Town: Ben’s Workshop star, 37, explained, “We have to learn to respect each other the same way that you do on the street. … I don’t care where you go, whether it’s a small town or a big city, I’ve never had someone be rude to me there or criticize my weight gain or criticize the way that I’m playing with my daughter or anything like that.”
The couple welcomed their daughter in January 2018 and have yet to show her face on social media. “It’s an awful feeling to have millions of people pick apart an image of your baby’s face,” Erin recently explained of their decision via Instagram. “We are the protectors of her image. Without Helen, our lives would be hollow and there would be nothing to share. She exists and we are proud of her. But her likeness is ours to protect and decide when it’s okay to share, no one else’s. That’s our personal choice, and it’s not the same for everyone.”
New episodes of Home Town air on HGTV Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET, and Ben’s spinoff, Home Town: Ben’s Workshop, is streaming on Discovery+.
With reporting by Diana CooperListen to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!