The founder of Clap for Carers has distanced herself from the newly launched Clap for Heroes after “hateful” abuse through social media.
Annemarie Plas said she would “no longer try to raise awareness”.
In a statement posted on Clap for Heroes’ Twitter page, the 36-year-old mother of one said: “Since I announced the return of the applause yesterday, I have been exposed to personal abuse and threats against myself and my family from a few hateful ones on social media channels.
“Regardless of their views and reasons for believing this is acceptable conduct, I have not made a political statement and will not endanger my loved ones.
“I don’t have a political agenda, I’m not a government employee, I don’t work in PR, I’m just an average mother at home trying to cope with the lockdown situation.”
The return of the weekly ritual has received mixed reactions online. Some NHS staff asked people not to clap and just stay home.
Ami Jones, an intensive care counselor from Wales, tweeted in response to the announcement of the reinvigorated clap, “No thanks. I’d rather you follow the rules, stay home, wear masks and wash your hands. “
Palliative care practitioner Rachel Clarke added, “Please don’t clap us. Just wear a mask, wash your hands, and respect the lockdown.”
Ms. Plas, a Dutch national who lives in south London, said the tradition was never intended to be a “political platform”.
The statement continued, “The idea of bringing back the applause was only to give the country optimism and positivity, and not to make any political comment on the state of the nation.
“Neither I nor Clap For Our Carers / Clap For Heroes intended to stand up for the government or to suggest that clapping was a substitute for anything else.
“If people want to make a statement about the world we live in, or want to make changes in our systems, there are ways to do so.
“I would be happy if others, talking about the applause, open the dialogue and debate, giving them a voice and impetus to discuss and have positive conversations and actions on broader, related issues.”
She said she recognized the frustrations and anger of some, but her personal defamation was “destructive and counterintuitive”.
“It can and should still happen at 8 p.m. tonight if you want to clap and clap for your heroes individually and personally. It’s up to each person to decide how relevant or rewarding it is for them to attend,” said she.