Sir Elton John has slammed social media trolls as “toxic” and says those hide behind anonymous accounts to post hate messages online are “cowards”.

The music star’s comments came ahead of a social media boycott that started on Friday afternoon, with athletes, clubs and governing bodies from a range of sports having joined forces to send a message that online abuse will not be tolerated.

All those involved – including broadcasters and sponsors with links to sport – stayed clear of their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels until 11.59pm on Monday night.

Speaking to Watford striker Troy Deeney in his new podcast series ‘Deeney Talks’, Sir Elton said people who post hate anonymously are at the “bottom of the barrel as far as human beings are concerned” and feels they should be held accountable for their actions.

He also called on social media giants to “take notice” of the boycott over the weekend and to take action over trolls.

The former Watford FC Chairman said: “When I ran the club and I was the chairman, Football never had that intense spotlight shone on it and I think what social media has done now is heighten the problems we have in Britain, not just with racism and hostility.

“It really makes me angry. Something has to be done, people can't hide behind anonymity.

“If you are going to post something on social media you have to name yourself, otherwise, something has to be done.

“People cannot just anonymously post hate anymore, they shouldn’t be allowed to. If they do, they should put their name on the piece and be accountable for it because they are just cowards at the bottom of the barrel as far as human beings are concerned.

“It makes me crazy, not just with football but all across social media. It’s a toxic thing.”

Deeney, who is among people to have taken part in the social media boycott, echoed Sir Elton’s views and felt a lot of people lash out at footballers and stars as they are “not happy within themselves”.

He said: “I don’t know about you but I have done a lot of work with therapy and you’ll understand that you lash out based on not being happy with yourself, I think that’s where we are getting to now, I think we need to be nicer to each other.”

In response, Sir Elton said: “Social media has great points, but it has bad points. The bad points need to be eradicated so we can get on. The hostility and hiding behind the horrible things other people write has to be addressed and has to be addressed quickly as it is an ongoing situation.”

Speaking about the boycott, he added: “The people who run these big companies have to sit up and take notice and say listen, we should do something.”

During the half hour interview, Deeney and Sir Elton discussed the impact of lockdown, Rocketman (the film based on Sir Elton’s life) and Football in general.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.