The Heartbreaking Reason This Former Contestant Never Watches The Great British Baking Show

According to a behind-the-scenes look that fourth-season winner Frances Quinn gave CosmopolitanGreat British Baking Show contestants watch themselves on the show along with everyone else. They don't get any sneak peeks at how episodes are edited, and may even learn what was going on right behind them (like a host snacking on their ingredients, for example) while watching from their own living rooms four months after filming. For bakers who did well on the show, it seems like watching should be a blast. For season eight's Stacey Hart, however, even making it all the way to the semifinals can't make watching the Great British Baking Show fun. Sadly, Hart revealed to Insider, she's been the victim of bullying from the show's fans, making it hard to watch.

"It brings back memories of sadness because I had some horrible trolling after that really, really affected me and my family," Hart tells Insider. Despite some impressive bakes, earning two "Hollywood handshakes," and winning "Star Baker," the contestant says she was edited to look as if she made mistakes like breaking an oven door, which Hart says never happened. On social media, viewers ridiculed Hart's apparent errors, emotional nature, and penchant for bright pink coloring and edible glitter. According to the Daily Mail, people also seemed to resent Hart is married to a millionaire co-founder of clothing retailer ASOS. Their hostility grew as she outlasted their favorite contestants, and show fans celebrated with jubilant memes when Hart was eliminated (via Express Digest).

Online bullying is nothing new for Great British Baking Show contestants

Stacey Hart tells Insider she worked for over a year to be able to compete on the GBBS, and the intense challenges of baking in the show's infamous tent are well known. Yet, some fans of the show still feel no shame trolling certain bakers. Season 11 contestant Laura Adlington was bullied when she remained on the show over fan-favorite Hermine, writes VultureBitch Media reports other victims have included season four's Ruby Tandoh, season five's Claire Goodwin, season six winner Nadiya Hussain, season seven winner Candice Brown, and season eight's Dan Beasley-Harling. Sadly and infuriatingly, it's women and LGBTQ+ contestants who receive the most vitriol. Judge Paul Hollywood has spoken out on his Instagram, condemning the trolling and urging fans to stop.

One bright spot is that Hart still treasures the actual experience of filming the GBBS, despite the toxicity that followed. She calls it the "best experience" of her life to Insider. "Even though I loved every minute doing the show—every minute—I didn't like the airing of the show," she says. "I'd do the shooting all over again, but I wouldn't do the airing again." It's nice to know that filming the GBBS can still be such a positive experience. Other contestants like Selasi Gbormittah have even written about the lasting friendships formed in the tent (via Metro). Now some of the show's more troll-happy fans just need to feel some of that friendly spirit.