On Monday 3 August, The Locker, a new podcast by the British Army, launched its first episode, with the subject line: “Could the gym be bad for your confidence?”
The debut episode features host Natalie Morris, who is joined by Whitmore and serving army soldier Ella to discuss the impact of the gym on body positivity.
Whitmore shared a post on Instagram promoting the podcast, posting a photograph of herself wearing a camouflage-print sweatshirt and saying she was “really pleased to share the first episode of the new podcast series”.
The Irish presenter's post originally included the hashtag “#armyjobs”, but this tag has since been deleted.
Several people criticised Whitmore for starring on the podcast and sharing the post on Instagram, claiming that she was trying to “recruit” for the British army.
“Very disappointed in Laura Whitmore promoting the British army. Given our history with Britain and what that army has done to us in our not so far back history you’d think an Irish woman she’d have more cop on,” one Twitter user from Ireland wrote.
“Laura Whitmore says she wasn’t trying to recruit for the British army despite using the #armyjobs tag and it being advertised by... army jobs,” another said.
Some critics also expressed their confusion that immediately following her social media posts about her appearance on the podcast, Whitmore shared a tribute to John Hume, the late Northern Irish politician who won a Nobel Peace Prize and helped to bring about the end to the Troubles.
“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,” tweeted write Lisa Hughes.
Whitmore responded to the tweet, saying: “Well when you’re trying to get your head around it, actually listen to the podcast and a really important conversation for women and being female in all sorts of male dominated industries.”
Hughes replied to Whitmore stating: “I’m a big fan of your work but thought this was really disappointing. I don’t see what gender has to do with it. John devoted his life to stopping the atrocities of the same army this podcast is effectively a recruitment drive for.”
In response, the Love Island presenter said: “Gender has EVERYTHING to do with it as that’s the conversation,” before stating in another tweet that “every industry and body is bettered by equality and a balance of all sexes”.
Well when you’re trying to get your head around it, actually listen to the podcast and a really important conversation for women and being female in all sorts of male dominated industries x
— Laura Whitmore (@thewhitmore)
Whitmore later shared two follow-up tweets in response to the criticism she received, saying that the focus of the podcast was to highlight “body issues”.
“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 35-year-old said.
“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.”
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)
The presenter added that she wanted to “clear up” any “confusion” about her decision to appear on the British Army podcast.
“I know to those who actually listen to the podcast they’ll understand but in case there’s any confusion I wanted to clear it up,” she said.