A highly controversial new hashtag has sparked major debate online, after it appeared to make light of the risk COVID-19 poses to older generations.
Many Gen Z and millennial users are attaching the phrase #boomerremover to posts discussing the novel coronavirus on platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The joke is a dark nod to the virus’ reported danger to older generations – specifically baby boomers born between 1945 and 1964 –who are more at risk of complications and death should they become infected.
The hashtag has been attached to a variety of posts, some expressing concern for the vulnerable population, some poking fun, and others steering in a worryingly vengeful direction.
In the US, some in have suggested policy should favour maintaining the economy for younger generations, over keeping older generations in good health.
Hashtag sparks backlash over ‘inhumane’ meaning
The hashtag is now receiving a huge amount of criticism online, with many slamming it as ‘shameful’, ‘cruel’ and even ‘inhumane’.
“I just want to say I think #boomerremover is very cruel and insensitive,” one man wrote on Twitter.
“Goes to show you just how deep in sh*t this whole planet is,” a young woman wrote. “Wishing that a generation dies is simply inhumane.”
“I can’t believe #BoomerRemover is a thing.... what is wrong with the world?” another wondered.
Others pointed out that plenty of young people have died from the virus as well, warning against the seemingly glib attitude of the hashtag users.
The hashtag itself, however, is slightly more complicated than just a horrifying death-wish for an entire generation. The phrase has been used for a variety of posts and comments.
A complicated online trend
For many, it is a way of encouraging people to support and protect their parents and grandparents by highlighting the specific threat it poses to them.
Many used it to express their frustration over their parents’ stubborn refusal to take the virus seriously.
It must be said of course that it’s not just the mums and dads who are resolutely and brazenly going about their every day. Less than two weeks ago Bondi beach was heaving with people both young and old ignoring social distancing.
A darker meaning to boomer remover
With that said, some have used the hashtag to suggest the virus is a ‘just’ punishment for considerable environmental damage done by older generations.
“I have very little empathy for 50-75 yr olds getting upset about #COVID19 being referred to as the #BoomerRemover since their shitty climate justice politics are essentially an all-of-our-planet's-lifeforms-and-biodiversity remover,” one wrote.
It was an attitude that sparked possibly the most impassioned responses so far.
“Really???” one woman wrote. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Maybe we can lay off tearing each other apart until after we’ve passed this global crisis.”
Others issued a one-warning-fits-all for anyone still using the hashtag today.
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