Clemmie Hooper: The Mother Of All Mistakes?

We speak to an insider, following the Mother of Daughters Instagram scandal and ask - why?

Clemmie Hooper

by Rhiannon Evans |

Rebekah Vardy, breathe a sigh of relief. The era of WAGatha Christie, Coleen Rooney’s reign as the queen of internet tea, is over. The new figure accused of shady dealings against her so-called friends? It’s… Mother of Daughters’ account.

And if anything, the tale is more bizarre. Last week, a series of Instagram ‘mumfluencers’ told their followers they’d been phoned (yes, old-fashioned, but it doesn’t leave a paper trail) by a fellow influencer, who confessed to them she’d been posting anonymous – and sometimes negative – comments about them on gossipy message board Tattle.Life under a pseudonym (Alice in Wanderlust).

While the women all refused to reveal the true identity of ‘Alice’, online sleuths pointed to Clemmie Hooper, AKA @mother_of_daughters. Apparently, in addition to similarities in wording, they had noticed that both ‘Alice’ and Clemmie had posted from St Lucia at the same time. Blog-atha Christies?

The next day Clemmie apologised, explaining that, after hearing there were ‘thousands’ of comments about her own family on Tattle Life, she had started to feel ‘extremely paranoid’ and set up an anonymous account on the site to change their opinions.

She got sucked in – but I think she started to enjoy it.

‘It became all-consuming and it grew bigger than I knew how to handle,’ she wrote via Instagram’s Stories feature. ‘When the users started to suspect it was me, I made the mistake of commenting about others. I regret it all and am deeply sorry – I know this has caused a lot of pain.

‘Undoubtedly, I got lost in this online world and the more I became engrossed in the negative commentary, the more the situation escalated. Engaging in this was a huge mistake. I take full responsibility for what has happened and I am just so sorry for the hurt I have caused everyone involved, including my friends and family.’

Hooper, 33, from Kent, is a hugely successful Instagrammer, midwife and mother of four daughters, with 672k followers, celebrity friends and a string of high-profile endorsement deals (from books to clothing companies). Her husband also blogs under @father_of_daughters and has a million followers. It’s not the first time she’s been caught in controversy – in May 2018, she become embroiled in a Mumsnet row when some users accused her of exploiting her children for gain – and she left Instagram for a month, making news headlines for doing so.

Last week’s story quickly gathered snark and eye-rolls online, but the people on the social media network said they felt really hurt. One insider tells Grazia that some of the women subject to Clemmie’s anonymous comments thought they were good friends – and have since realised some of those posts were written very soon after they had hung out with her in real life. ‘It’s a huge thing for some people,’ the insider says. ‘It’s a classic case of someone who’s been victimised turning perpetrator and there’s some truth in her statement – she got sucked in – but I think she started to enjoy it. She was doing it for eight months and the insidiousness is that it was done to close friends.’

Still, the question on most people’s lips was: why would she do this?

‘This situation just goes to show you how powerful the online disinhibition effect can be,’ says psychologist John Suler, author of Psychology Of The Digital Age. ‘When attacked and then having the opportunity for a counter-attack fuelled by anonymity, as well as the other ingredients of the online disinhibition effect, even a regular person can turn into a troll. Many, if not all of us have a mean side to our personalities that can be unleashed under the right circumstances.’

And while it might seem a storm in an Insta-cup to some, this concerns big business. Last year, women were responsible for 85% of sponsored posts on Instagram, and mums, especially, have found a place there, thanks to the fact they can make money while working flexibly. Engagement between bloggers and their followers (what brands love to see when striking deals) is higher on Instagram than any other platform, and those with more than 500,000 followers can command up to £2,500 per post.

How much this scandal affects Clemmie – and her earning power – remains to be seen. Since she quit and returned to Instagram in 2018, she’s gained 172,000 extra followers and her separate Insta for her birth-focused blog, Gas and Air, has garnered 76,000 more. Already her followers have been posting on the accounts of some of her critics, accusing them of ganging up on her – so perhaps nothing is black and white. In this ever-changing internet world, people have come back from much worse – and maybe no one comes out totally clean.

READ MORE: Clemmie Hooper – And How Instagram Became A Tool Of Modern Motherhood

READ MORE: Clemmie Hooper Admits To Posting Anonymous Comments About Other Bloggers

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