Mother who was called a ‘black c*** and told ‘black lives don’t matter’ by Eastenders star Katie Jarvis during drunken rant says she is too stressed to work and is plagued by panic attacks
- Katie Jarvis racially abused a mother, before hours later spitting at a bouncer
- Came after an argument over empty chair at restaurant in Southsea in July 2020
- Jarvis shouting ‘black lives don’t matter’ and ‘I’m a celebrity’ during the tirade
- She was handed two-year community order and 200 hours of unpaid work
- But victim Michelle Antonio, 49, has blasted the sentence a ‘slap on the wrist’
A mother-of-three who was called a ‘black c***’ and told ‘black lives don’t matter’ by former Eastenders star Katie Jarvis during a drunken rant has said she is too stressed to work and is plagued by panic attacks.
Jarvis, 30, racially abused the woman after an argument broke out over a spare chair inside a fish and chip shop in Southend, Essex, on July 31, 2020.
The actress, who played Hayley Slater in the BBC soap from 2018 to 2019, then spat at a bouncer later the same evening when she was refused entry into a nightclub.
Michelle Antonio, a victim of the abuse that evening, says she now suffers panic attacks and flashbacks to racial insults from her childhood.
She had been enjoying a day out with her family at the seaside when Jarvis launched into the tirade over a spare chair at the fish and chip shop.
Ms Antonio, 49, told The Sunday Mirror: ‘How can racism like this still be going on in the 2020s? You think things have changed, but nothing has.
‘I’ve been sitting here stressing myself out for two years, I feel like I’ve been wasting my time.
Michelle Antonio (pictured) says she now suffers panic attacks and flashbacks to racial insults from her childhood following the incident with Jarvis
Katie Jarvis, who played Hayley Slater in Eastenders from 2018 to 2019, admitted racially-aggravated harassment of Ms Antonio and common assault in relation to spitting at the bouncer
She was sentenced to a two-year community order, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and issued a requirement to complete 60 days of specified activities
Jarvis performing in her role as Hayley Slater in the BBC soap opera. She was working at B&M at the time of the incident
‘Katie shouted “black lives don’t matter, I’m a celebrity – on and on and on. She called me and my daughters black c***s. I was so shaken up and angry, frustrated, upset, embarrassed.
‘As the court case came up, I was getting panic attacks, feeling stressed, thinking ‘oh my God, I wish that we didn’t have to go through this’.
‘I had to leave my work as a college student engagement officer, which I loved. Her sentence is a slap on the wrist. I thought she’d get something more than that.’
Jarvis was handed a two-year community order at Basildon Crown Court last month after admitting racially-aggravated harassment of Ms Antonio and common assault in relation to spitting at the bouncer.
She was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and issued a requirement to complete 60 days of specified activities.
Jarvis spoke outside the court to apologise ‘to the people in Southend that day’, saying she was full of ‘shame and regret’ over her actions.
But in reaction to her comments, Ms Antonio said: ‘Katie Jarvis claims she isn’t racist but when people are drunk, the truth comes out – and those words came out of her mouth. She made a public apology but not a personal one to me and I was the one that was being abused.
‘She should never work again. If she’s lost money, that’s because of her behaviour. If I’d done that I wouldn’t be able to work with young people again, so it should be one rule for all.’
She said the incident began when Jarvis, who was working as a guard at B&M at the time following her exit from Eastenders, was enjoying a night out celebrating after attending auditions.
Cyrus Shroff, prosecuting, told the hearing last month tensions first flared at the chip shop after someone tried to lift an empty chair from a table with four seats where Michelle Antonio, who is black, was sitting with two others of her group of four.
He told the court that Ms Antonio had said the chair was being used, before telling Jarvis that she could not take the seat as it was needed by a fourth person in her party.
Jarvis joined the EastEnders cast in 2018 as the cousin of Kat Slater, played by Jessie Wallace
Jarvis shouted ‘black lives don’t matter’ and ‘I’m a celebrity’ during the incident on Southsea seafront in July 2020
The pair had to be separated, before a friend of Jarvis flagged down a police car.
Ms Antonio says Jarvis was allowed to leave the scene, while she claimed it took officers three hours to accept that she was the victim
The same evening, at around 9.15pm, bouncer Toby Groom denied Jarvis entry to the Hope Hotel, and when she returned an hour later Mr Groom again asked her to leave.
Mr Shroff told the sentencing las month: ‘She started shouting abuse again towards him. She then spat towards him. It’s right to say there’s no suggestion it connected to him.
‘He notified the police and soon after that at about 11pm officers arrested Ms Jarvis.’
While awaiting the trial, Ms Antonio said she began feeling ‘more isolated and withdrawn’, before having to stop work due to panic attacks.
She has now applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is seeking a counsellor.
A spokesperson for Essex Police said: ‘When officers attended the incident, they spoke with Ms Antonio and took her details.
‘Once allegations were made officers began their investigation. At no point was she considered a suspect. Ms Jarvis was arrested later that day.
‘Investigations can be lengthy as officers review evidence, take statements and study available CCTV, but we were in contact with Ms Antonio throughout.’
‘In all cases, victims are referred to Victim Support and any relevant partner agencies that are aligned to the Essex Police force area.
‘Ms Antonio was also supplied the contact details of CPS and witness support ahead of the court case should she wish to make contact.’
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