The 35-year-old posted on her Instagram account about a new podcast series launched by the British army called The Locker, saying she was “really pleased” to share the first episode in which she spoke to a female soldier about working in a male-dominated industry.
Shortly afterwards, the presenter posted a Twitter tribute to Irish politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, whose funeral took place today.
RIP John Hume 💚
“Ireland is not a romantic dream; it is not a flag; it is 4.5 million people divided into two powerful traditions. The solution will be found not on the basis of victory for either, but on the basis of agreement and a partnership”
— Laura Whitmore ⚡️ (@thewhitmore) August 3, 2020
Ms Whitmore quickly came under fire on social media, with posters accusing the presenter of “recruiting for the British army” and criticising her “ignorance and insensitivity”.
The period of conflict known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland saw the British army, along with both republican and loyalist paramilitaries, involved in acts of violence.
Mr Hume was a central figure in bringing peace to the area and the juxtaposition of Ms Whitmore’s social media posts has been described as “tone deaf”.
It's too early for me to get my head around Laura Whitmore's ad for the British Army podcast, followed by a John Hume quote. pic.twitter.com/ESNE8aCZeM
— Lisa Hughes (@_Lisa_Hughes) August 4, 2020
Ms Whitmore responded to the online backlash, saying “if this looked like me trying to recruit people to the army that is not the case at all”.
She said her guest appearance on the podcast focused on gender equality issues, which she has spoken about in the past.
I was asked to be a guest on a podcast talking about body issues and being a female in a male dominated industry. As I have done a lot in the past. The other guest was a young female soldier. If this looked like me trying to recruit people to the army that is not the case at all
— Laura Whitmore ⚡️ (@thewhitmore) August 5, 2020
“This is not about ignoring the history books. This is about progress and equality – something Hume promoted,” she added.
This is not about ignoring the history books. This is about progress and equality - something Hume promoted. You’re fully entitled to your opinion. I just thought it would have been good to have listened to the podcast before you judged the post
— Laura Whitmore ⚡️ (@thewhitmore) August 4, 2020