Karen Adam said she was left unable to eat or sleep, feared for her own and her family’s safety, and was now looking for “litigation advice”.
She tweeted at 3.23am: “Death threats, vile abuse, told to kill myself. I’m off for a wee bit.”
Ms Adam, who was elected the MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast last May, has received support from SNP politicians plus Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.
She has also been enouraged to report the threats to the police.
The problems started after Ms Adam was criticised by the general secretary of Alba, Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny, on both social media and in a party press release.
Can’t sleep, not eaten. I’m worried for mine and my families safety after I was just told my personal details are now being shared. Death threats, vile abuse, told to kill myself. Told I’d be put through a wood chipper.
Grateful for litigation advice. I’m off for a wee bit ✌🏻
— Karen Adam MSP (@KarenAdamMSP) January 3, 2022
Mr McEleny yesterday accused Ms Adam of being an “ideological zealot” who had made an “appalling error in judgment”.
She in turn accused him of “gaslighting and cowardliness”, and said he ought to be ashamed of twisting her words and provoking a social media “pile on”.
Mr McEleny today condemned the abuse Ms Adam received and said that her message, once clarified, was “an important one that we should all listen to”.
The row followed Ms Adam, who describes herself as “a survivor of child sexual assault”, tweeting about the danger of sexual predators on December 30.
Highlighting the way paedophiles blend in with society, making them hard to identify, she wrote: “Paedophiles and predators are people. Not bogey men under the bed.
“Not Mac wearing flashers in the street, faceless and nameless.
“They are our family, friends and colleagues. They are not scary monsters. They are people who abuse. It’s uncomfortable to humanise them because we then have to face the horrors in plain sight. Horrifying isn’t it? Face it and warn our kids.”
Mr McEleny retweeted the remarks, adding: “If you didn’t think the SNP had been captured by ideological zealots that care not about independence, here’s one of their newly elected MSPs with a new line of ‘Paedophiles and predators are people’.”
In the Alba press release, he also called the comments “grotesque” and urged Ms Adam “to reflect on her use of social media and think twice before making such offensive comments in the future”.
He said: “I’m hopeful that this SNP MSP has just been very clumsy at making a broader point about the importance of educating children on risks to keep them safe. However, to attempt to humanise the most vile behaviour in society is an appalling error in judgment.
“Ms Adam says that paedophiles are not ‘monsters’, I’m sure almost everyone in Scotland will agree that’s exactly what they are.
“These comments must be distanced from by the SNP leadership immediately and they should demand that their MSPs spend more time campaigning for independence and less time trying to humanise paedophiles.”
Ms Adam said yesterday: “So Chris doesn’t think they are people among us. He only cares to twist the words of a female rep deliberately and cause a pile on.
“Wow Chris, you sure defend women. Gaslighting and showing cowardliness.
“Wondered why the abuse ramped up this last hour. Shame on you.”
In the early hours of this morning, she tweeted: “Can’t sleep, not eaten. I’m worried for mine and my families safety after I was just told my personal details are now being shared. Death threats, vile abuse, told to kill myself. Told I’d be put through a wood chipper. Grateful for litigation advice. I’m off for a wee bit.”
Shortly before going quiet on Twitter, the MSP thanked those who had given her support.
She wrote: “Gosh I’m blown away by the support thank you so much! Cross party and political divide too. It comes as no surprise to me that when I speak the truth about sexual predators there’s always a man there to misrepresent words and gaslight.
“Tale old as time. I won’t ever weesht.”
Falkirk SNP MSP Michelle Thomson, who revealed in a House of Commons debate that she was raped at the age of 14, tweeted: “Always report. Take care. X”.
Perth SNP MP Pete Wishart said on Twitter: “It is to their eternal shame that Alba trolls have tried to make this all about their anti trans obsession.
“They have already been overwhelmingly rejected. Make sure they are rejected once again in May. Scotland is so much better than them.”
Gordon SNP MP Richard Thomson added: “Quite a few people should be ashamed by their response to what Karen has had to say here.
“If you don’t understand, try harder. And if you do understand but still want to try to twist and misrepresent because, well, politics, then you really need to take a good look at yourself.”
Glasgow Central SNP MP Alison Thewliss said: “Karen Adam is far braver and speaks with more experience and integrity than those who are sending bile her way.
“They should be ashamed of themselves and they owe her an apology.”
Julie Hepburn, who stood against Mr McEleny for the SNP depute leadership in 2018, wrote of Ms Adam: “A woman who knows what she’s talking about makes an intelligent & important point & it’s ripped out of context & misrepresented by people with a vested interest in protecting predatory men.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “There should be no place for this in our politics, none at all. Utterly grim. Solidarity with Karen here.”
Glasgow SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter, a long-time aide to Nicola Sturgeon, said the episode was further evidence that “Alba are Scotland’s version of QAnon”, the US conspiracy cult.
She tweeted: “I know some decent folk did join. Time to look at who is representing you & the tactics they use. You can surely do better. If you don’t think you can, why stay?”
Mr McEleny said today: “I reject in the strongest possible manner anyone that has directed abhorrent threats at Ms Adam.
“I would urge her to report these to the police.
“My own Twitter notifications are currently full of abuse, threats, and requests for me to do horrible things to myself, which are never nice things to read for me or my family when you have a history of poor mental health experiences.
“I would plead with everyone that interacts about Scottish politics on Twitter to do so in a much nicer way.
“Ms Adam has subsequently clarified the point she was attempting to make in the initial tweet, which had been criticised by many online, and the message she is getting across with the added explanation is an important one that we should all listen to.”