TOWIE star James Lock blasted Priti Patel for “inciting hate” on influencers as he revealed he’s been hit with terrifying death threats for being out in Dubai.
James, who has just split from on-off girlfriend Yaz Oukhellou last week, insisted he hasn’t broken any rules by avoiding lockdown in the UEA.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, the reality star moaned that Home Secretary Priti Patel ‘incited hate’ when she criticised influencers for ‘showing off’ on their luxury holidays earlier this month.
James, known on the hit show as Lockie, said: “We’ve been bombarded with vile abuse.
“We have had death threats. People have said ‘I hope you get Covid and die’, they’ve said ‘I hope your family gets Covid and dies’.
“The hate has increased one hundred per cent after what Priti Patel said in the House of Commons.
“I think it is disgusting she has tried to use influencers as a scapegoat. It is embarrassing the government are trying to pass the blame.
“She has basically incited hate. We’ve been bombarded with hate and death threats ever since then. It’s increased tenfold. It’s been crazy.”
Dubai has seen a spike of cases recently, leading to clubs being shut throughout the city.
The UK has now added the UEA to its red travel list, with all direct flights axed.
Lockie and Yaz – who flew out with her then-boyfriend before the UK tightened travel restrictions – split after a blazing row last week
But he said she has been getting “nasty and personal” abuse.
Defending his ex Lockie said: “I am pretty thick-skinned and don’t let it get to me but I feel sorry for Yaz.
“Girls seem to get it so much worse than guys. Yaz has had so much abuse. It has got really nasty and personal.”
Lockie, 34, insists that he flew out to Dubai for business reasons, with him and Yaz opting to stay to pursue more opportunities.
James is currently working in Dubai as content creator for the UK’s number one live shopping app OOOOO.
The reality star also said staying in Dubai would help him “protect [his] mental health”.
He continued: “People have called for us to be arrested and sacked from Towie. We’ve lost followers but we haven’t actually done anything wrong. We flew out before lockdown and stayed out here.
“I understand some influencers have just been out partying but I’ve been working every day to make money.
“Why would I go home to a lockdown when I can stay here, protect my mental health, earn money and provide for my family?
“We haven’t flown back and forth. I haven’t been spreading it. I have been playing by the rules in Dubai and I will when I go home.”
He denied breaking the rules and revealed his own family had struggled with Covid-19.
“My own family has had a personal tragedy due to Covid. I know how serious it is. It has hit my family. I’m not taking this lightly,” he said.
“I didn’t just jump ship to escape lockdown. Yaz and I were always coming here for work, to team up with OOOOO and to enquire about some business ideas and have meetings. We have just made the best out of a bad situation.
“Yaz’s mum is a nurse. She is seeing it first hand but she didn’t have a problem with us being here. She would be out here if she could.
“My dad works on building sites and is forced to go to work every day.
“People are saying we are out of touch but we aren’t. I just don’t see what good it would do anyone for me to go home, be locked in, put my mental health at risk and not earn money when I can stay here and focus on work.
“I don’t mean to sound selfish but no one else is going to look after me. The Government isn’t going to look after me.”
Lockie laid the blame on the government for “constantly changing the rules”.
He said: “It is a really difficult time for everyone and I understand everyone is looking for someone to blame.
“But I think the Government is doing anything it can to pass blame and not take responsibility for their mistakes including blaming influencers.
“I don’t think the UK Government has handled the pandemic well at all. They are constantly changing the rules. They made the situation so much worse.
“It has one of the worst death rates and has been one of the most financially hit too.”
Single Lockie is unsure whether he will stay out in Dubai to work without Yaz, 27, or fly home before the hotel quarantine comes into effect on Monday.
Source: Read Full Article