Wheeler Dealers star Mike Brewer has spoken candidly about how the ‘tirade of abuse’ he receives on social media has affected his mental health.
The host of our Used Car Awards opened up in an interview to mark 20 years of Wheeler Dealers in our exclusive video interview above.
In it, he explains how the hurtful comments he receives every time he opens his phone affects him and how he just ‘wishes it would stop’.
The star explains the hateful posts – which have included death threats – have even led to him drinking ‘more than he should’.
Brewer said: ‘I’ve had death threats. Regularly people threaten to rape my wife and daughter and murder me. People say they’re outside my house. I’ve actually had people at my gate.
‘I wake up every day to a tirade of abuse. It happens every single day.
‘It’s killed presenters in the past – poor Caroline Flack. It does hurt and it does affect me. And I can see my changing moods when I’ve read something that’s particularly disturbing. It affects my mental health.’
Brewer’s Wheeler Dealers show, which is celebrating its 21st season, is broadcast across the globe and now reaches 200m people.
However, the success has been tarnished by a disturbing undercurrent of online hate. He spoke out in this interview in an attempt to address it.
‘When you’ve got a global show that reaches more than 200m people, you’re gonna have a tiny percentage of those people take umbrage to the fact that you’re successful,’ said Brewer.
‘People take umbrage to that and get jealous of it. So they revert to social media and tell me what they think of me, and the abuse does hurt.
‘It does affect me, and it affects my mental health. But fortunately, I’ve got a really strong family and a very strong, loving wife. And I’ve got a great team of people around me that know simply what you read online isn’t true.
‘I’m just a regular guy that has done well, and I work bloody hard.
‘I struggle. Personally, I may drink a bit too much to try and numb the pain. And that manifests itself in weight. And then that manifests itself in people just being abusive and cruel about size online. But it’s a vicious circle. And unfortunately, is the world we live in.’
You can click on the video below to be taken to the section where Brewer chats about the abuse.
Brewer says he ‘hates social media’ and wishes he never had it, but his employers expect him to promote the show online.
‘I hate it,’ he said. ‘I wish I never I could switch it off tomorrow, and never go back there again.
‘Because people out there, they’re sick. People out there are depraved.
‘It’s very dark, and I’d get it if I was a murderer, or I’ve done something that was so heinous, but I’m just a guy that fixes up cars.
‘I just don’t understand why people would abuse somebody over that.
‘Would you run into your local mechanic shop, and scream at him in the face and call him all things under the sun? You wouldn’t. So why do they do it to me? I wish they’d stop because I’m sick to death of it.’
Brewer said he wanted to use the abuse he suffered to highlight the work automotive industry charity BEN does to help others who are suffering similar bullying.
He explained the charity has a helpline to help those suffering and can be called free on 08081 311 333 or they offer a live chat function on their website.
In the interview, Brewer also chats about the success of the Wheeler Dealers programme, the new season of which starts on Discovery Plus on Friday, October 6.
‘When we first started to make the first season of Wheeler Dealers, I always felt we were just making it up as we went along,’ explained Brewer.
‘I was being offered Top Gear at the time, I’d just come off the back of Driven, Deals on Wheels on Channel Four and I really thought this would just be a bit of a stop gap in between.
‘But no, at the end of that first season, I got inundated with people stopping me in the street and contacting me on this new thing called MySpace and social media. And they were telling me how much they enjoyed the programme.
‘I knew that it had some kind of presence and legs then. And here I am, we’re just about to start the 21st season 20 years later, and I’m still doing it. It’s incredible.’
Brewer also talks about the favourite used cars he’s done up over the years in the video interview as well as revealing where the idea for Wheeler Dealers came from in the first place.
He also talks about how picking his favourite mechanic to work with is impossible. Since Wheeler Dealers started, Brewer has worked with Edd China, Ant Anstead and Marc ‘F1 Elvis’ Priestley.
Brewer said: ‘They’re equally all amazing, each and every one of them has been incredible to work with.’
You can watch the full video interview at the top of this page. Mike Brewer will host the Car Dealer Used Car Awards on Monday, November 27. Tickets are available now.