Phantom of the Opera star Sofia Escobar has stirred up controversy by lashing out on Twitter at a 48-year-old housewife who criticised her performance in the show.

The woman, who has asked not to be named, tweeted about her dislike of the show to a friend, ending her message: “Ah but U know I can’t stand Sofia…”

The tweet was not tagged or sent to Escobar but came to her attention and she responded the next day with a message saying, “It’s OK cause I can’t stand you either ;) x” The actress then continued by tweeting to her 3,800 followers, “I take criticism very well. But one thing is to criticise and one v different is to be offensive, disrespectful and mean. To me, ‘I don’t like her portrayal’ sounds v dif to ‘I can’t stand her’.

Escobar continued her tweeting, asking why her job allows people to criticize her. The woman has also received angry tweets from Escobar’s fans, as well as her boyfriend who chimed in with, “Lack of taste is OK, lack of education is just sad, something to think about cause u’ve already got some years behind u.”

Some of Sofia Escobar's tweets
The housewife responded to Escobar with an apology saying, “Is that it? My remark to a friend offended u so much? Then I’m sorry. Of course I didn’t mean (sic) u urself. I don’t even know u.” She added, “Now, when I said to a friend ‘I can’t stand Sofia’ about @sofia_escobar, I of course meant her perf (performance) in poto (Phantom of the Opera), not herself. Isn’t that obvious?”

The woman then made a statement to the Evening Standard describing the actress’ behaviour as “laughable” and saying, “I can understand actors hating anything negative written about them, but to take it on a personal level like this? And against a mere punter like myself who only expressed her honest opinion as a theatre-lover?”

The social media argument has now been labelled as cyber-bullying with both parties considered guilty of the indiscretion. The anonymous tweeter said, “She has accused me of cyber-bullying but many people have now said to me that they think she is the one who is cyber-bullying.”

- Julianna Fazio