Monday, 10 December 2012

'I didn’t find the card'

On 7 December, @Cheesyhel tweeted a photo of a birthday card for 13-year-old girls that she found in a local newsagents:

The card says:

If you had a rich boyfriend he'd give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will - when you've bigger boobies!

The Mail reported on the outrage that followed:

The article says:

American novelist Maureen Johnson was travelling though [sic] the UK when she came across the card. She took a picture and posted it to Twitter with the message: 'Dear @HallmarkPR, SERIOUSLY???? #letsmessgirlsupearlywithcards'.

The card sparked outrage across the social media service and by Saturday evening, her message had been re-tweeted more than 1,000 times.

It is not known which shop the author was in when she came across the card, but Hallmark UK claimed to be surprised that it was still on sale.

But this isn't true. American author Maureen Johnson had sent a tweet that included @Cheesyhel's pic - the latter's Twitter handle is revealed on opening the photo in Johnson's tweet.  

Today, Johnson tweeted what happened:

She then revealed the contact she'd had with Mail reporter Niamh O'Doherty:

On Saturday, December 8, 2012, Niamh O’Doherty wrote:

Hi Maureen,

My name is Niamh O’Doherty and I’m a reporter from The Daily Mail. We’re just writing a story about the Hallmark Card you found yesterday, and were wondering if you’d like to comment on it. Would you also be able to tell us in which shop you picked up the card?

Thanks so much,


From: Maureen Johnson
Sent: 09 December 2012 04:26
To: Niamh O’Doherty
Subject: Re: Query from the Daily Mail

I didn’t find the card. It was found in the uk by someone else. I had surgery this week and was not traipsing about! I think HuffPo reported it that way, but I have no idea why.


Niamh O’Doherty
Dec 9 (1 day ago)
to me
Thanks Maureen, appreciate it. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

Update: Given the Mail article was published online on 8 December, and Maureen's reply was not sent until the 9th, it seems the Mail ran the article without waiting for her reply, based on a misunderstanding of her original tweet. However, at time of writing, two days on from being told the truth by Maureen, the Mail has not corrected the story.


  1. Hold on, the article was published at 19:37 on 8th December. The reply Johnson sent wasn't until the early hours of 9th.

    So, it's not so much that The Fail printed something they'd been told wasn't true - it's that they printed something without waiting to see whether it was true or not and now - I've just checked - the same incorrect information is still up there.

    'We don't need regulation, you can trust is to tell the truth,' say cheap little newspaper editors, lying en masse.

  2. She should sue the Mail for libel, purely on the grounds that the paper maliciously disregarded the truth. Even if she only ends up with 1 pound in damages, it will be worth it:

  3. Good spot Anonymous - so, in fairness to the Mail (!!), it looks like they mistakenly identified Johnson as the author of the tweet and ran the story without waiting for her reply - because all they wanted from her was to know where she'd bought it, which they would have added to the story had they received her response in time.

  4. Thanks Anonymous and Matt - I have added a short update to the end of the post.

  5. I know it's a very late comment but if the Mail had checked her twitter timeline at the time they would have seen that:
    1) she didn't findf it
    2) she was at home in the US recovering from surgery.
    What ever happened to research?


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