Every November, we as a nation are encouraged to remember those who fought in the First World War and pay our respects. One major way that people choose to commemorate the war veterans is by wearing a poppy, and displaying her freedom of choice, ITV newsreader Charlene White decided that this year she would not wear one.
She, however, did not probably anticipate the abuse that her choice would get her as Twitter and Facebook users threw all kinds of sexual and racist insults at her, including calling her a slag, a tramp who should be locked up and stating that she would not be in the country were it not for the soldiers:
Absolutely disgusting and shameful comments.
Channel 4’s Jon Snow chooses not to wear a poppy either, so why no backlash for him?
Charlene, whose father and uncle were actually in the Royal Air Forces, has since defended her decision not to wear a poppy through her Twitter account:
What a lot of the tweets directed at me today show, is some people have a severe lack of knowledge of British history and the Commonwealth.
— Charlene White (@CharleneWhite) November 10, 2013
I support British Legion. My dad was RAF. I don't wear poppy b/c I disagree with 1 charity getting more ON SCREEN time than others I support
— Charlene White (@CharleneWhite) November 11, 2013
As well as delivering an official statement on the ITV website:
I support and am patron of a number of charities and I am uncomfortable with giving one of those charities more on-screen time than others.
I prefer to be neutral and impartial on-screen so that one of those charities doesn’t feel less favoured than another.
Off-screen in my private life – it’s different.
I wear a red ribbon at the start of December for World Aids Day, a pink ribbon in October during breast cancer awareness month, a badge in April during Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and yes – a poppy on Armistice Day.
I respect and hold in high esteem those in the armed forces, both my father and my uncle have served in the RAF and the Army.
Every year I donate to the Poppy Appeal because above all else it is a charity that needs donations, so that it can continue to help support serving and ex-service men and women and their families.
The messages of “go back to where you came from” have been interesting to read, as have the “fat slag” comments, and the repeated use of the phrase “black cunt”.
Mostly because it flies in the face of everything that millions of British men and women and those in the Commonwealth have fought for for generations, and continue to fight for: the right to choose, and the right of freedom of speech and expression.
That’s a truly dignified response from Charlene who chose not to rise to the comments made towards her.
No one gets this kind of abuse when they don’t wear a pink Breast Cancer ribbon or a red nose for Red Nose day, so why all the hate for this certain cause?