HGTV's Erin Napier Is 'Turning Off' Instagram Comments Until 2021 After Calling Out Trolls
Erin Napier knows social media can be a dark place — and now she’s taking matters into her own hands and changing the way people can interact with her posts.
The Home Town star, 34, previously opened up about Instagram bullies having taken an emotional toll on her, and on Thursday morning she announced on that platform that she’s taking significant steps towards taming those trolls by turning off comments on her posts until 2021.
“Turning off comments till 2021 feels like a good move,” she captioned a photo of her and her husband (and HGTV co-star), Ben, 37. “It’s getting harder to shoulder every opinion from every direction at all times about everything when everyone is freaking out constantly. There’s too much noise.”
She used an analogy to explain how social media can be deceiving, and explained that commenters often react without seeing the full picture.
“It’s like this: we’re each making a bed and can’t see how far the sheet is hanging on the other side. We can’t see what we can’t see,” the mother of one wrote. “So the best we can do is show compassion in our differences and understanding that we’re never going to be able to see all things the exact same way because our experiences are not the same.”
Erin then asked that fans not worry about her decision, and instead embrace the change. “It’s nothing to freak out about. No need to shove. Have mercy. Show grace. Social media is for fun,” she wrote.
Adding some humor, she then wrote: “So here, enjoy this totally candid and unposed image,” referencing the accompanying picture, in which she and Ben are smiling cheekily in front of a camera. “(ps I am bad at analogies),” she added to conclude the post.
The TV designer made a similar pleato put an end to Instagram bullying back in March, when she said she was refusing to let “cruel” commenters impact her life anymore.
At the time, she posted a photo of a dim lamp in front of a curtained window, captioning it with a message to supporters and would-be bullies alike.
“Instagram is my cozy place,” she wrote. “A photo journal of the moments I don’t mind sharing because maybe it will make someone feel like there are other people like them in the world, or maybe it will give you courage to be distinctly YOU in a world that values perfection over personal.”
“What this isn’t: a place for people I don’t know to come and air their grievances (this isn’t Festivus) or be mean or critical,” she continued. “If you are thinking to yourself ‘well it feels good to say my piece, warts and all!’ go ahead and tap that unfollow button.”
She then shared that she has no problem with blocking those who make her feel less than, and that no one should be afraid to do the same, as she wants to be able to share parts of her life — including snapshots from her home town of Laurel, Mississippi, and her 2-year-old daughter, Helen — with supportive fans.
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In January 2018, the star similarly took to Instagram to make clear that she is a “real-life human who is on TV and still sees what folks write on social.”
Though she remarked that social media has, for the most part, been a “hugely positive” way to connect with fans, friends and family, the “downside” is a major one. It’s “the false sense of anonymity it gives people who want to bully or harass or stir up cruelty, those keyboard cowboys and girls who enjoy creating tumult, thinking online is not the real world and no one will call them on it,” she wrote at the time.
“What if when we bump into those keyboard cowboys in the real world, we started a REAL, kind, grown up discussion about the things they were so ‘brave’ to say online,” she continued, adding that she hopes to “make them think twice when they’re caught awkwardly in public about it, to make them understand they’re really not so safe or anonymous being cruel on social.”
Erin, a graphic designer by trade, and Ben, a former church minister, found HGTV fame after a producer for the network spotted their renovation of the 1925 craftsman cottage they were fixing up for themselves in their hometown of Laurel, Miss.
“She sent us an email and said, ‘This might sound crazy, but I’ve been stalking you on social media, and I’d like to put you guys on TV,’” Ben told PEOPLE in an April cover story. “I was like, ‘Really? Why?’”
“We never expected this,” Erin added. “Getting a TV show never even crossed our minds.”
Now the Napiers command a growing home-improvement empire, including their series Home Town (now in its fourth season), plus the spinoff Home Town Takeover coming in 2021, two retail stores, a book and a furniture line.