A MOTHER who was racially abused by an EastEnders star on Southend seafront says she was too stressed to work and is plagued by panic attacks after the incident.

Michelle Antonio, 49, has opened up to The Sunday Mirror about how the incident with actress Katie Jarvis on July 31, 2020, has impacted her.

The soap star was handed a two-year community order sentence, requiring 200 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of rehabilitation last month.

The victim has been enjoying a day out with her family on the seafront with Jarvis began to racially abuse the woman over a spare chair at a 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.

“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.”

During the sentencing at Basildon Crown Court last month, Jarvis’ solicitor Patrick Harte said his client was apologetic for the racist language she had used but maintained she did not hold racist views.

Ms Antonio added: “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.”

The pair had to be separated, before a friend of Jarvis flagged down a police car.

Ms Antonio claimed Jarvis was allowed to leave the scene, while she claimed it took officers three hours to accept that she was the victim.