NewsWorld
Letters

'Dear slut': US woman receives surprise barb in Bank of America letter

Feminist writer gets shock in the mail, and prompts bank to investigate how the supposed 'database glitch' occurred

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 9:55am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 February, 2014, 2:37pm

San Francisco writer Lisa McIntire says Bank of America sent her a credit card offer addressed to “Lisa Is A Slut McIntire”, and she posted photos of it on Twitter on Thursday.

The BofA tweeted her an apology and pledged to investigate.

McIntire, 32, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview that she first learned about the mail in a text exchange with her mother, which she posted on Twitter.

“Interesting piece of junk mail addressed to you. ‘Lisa is a slut McIntire’,” her mother texted.

“Uh, what?”

“No kidding. That is how it is addressed!”

 

The phrasing appears both in the name field of the junk mail and in the photos of the junk mail that McIntire posted online.

“Lisa Is A Slut McIntire, you’ve earned this special offer,” the mailer said in bold letters, in a Visa credit card offer that the letter said was tied to McIntyre’s membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Spokespeople for Bank of America did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday afternoon. But the bank’s Twitter account tweeted at McIntire, “We’re incredibly sorry this happened and are researching now so we can take the appropriate action. We’ll follow up with you ASAP.”

Golden Key’s Twitter account also tweeted at her: “Hi Lisa. We’re so sorry this has occurred. We are investigating and will reach out to you personally soon.”

The writer also tweeted that she received a call from BofA executives, one of whom explained that the “offensive language” had been input in their database between 2004 to 2008, based on time stamps on her account. However, they had not been able to trace who input those words.

She also said Max White, a senior advocate with the bank’s CEO office, pledged to flag curse words in the system.

McIntire, a former deputy communications director for one of California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaigns, laughed a little in describing the mailer, which was sent to her mother’s home in Menlo Park, but said she is “dying to know” how the phrasing got in the mail.

“What kind of got my adrenaline pumping is that I’m a feminist writer on the internet, so getting a piece of mail that my mom is opening that says I’m a ‘slut’ made me think, ‘Oh god, which troll of mine is doing this?’” McIntire said.

“But I don’t think that’s what happened here. My working theory is that this is some data entry person [messing] around. I don’t think it’s aimed at me.”

McIntire tweeted a picture of the mail at Bank of America’s Twitter account but has not called the company seeking answers, she said. “I thought, you know what, this is better to document and get it out there – I’ll probably get a faster response,” she said.

The incident is reminiscent of one in January, when OfficeMax sent junk mail to a grieving Illinois father mentioning that his daughter died in a car crash.

When the man received mail addressed to “Mike Seay, Daughter Killed in Car Crash”, a call centre and a company spokesperson at first doubted his claims before a local TV news affiliate aired a story about his piece of mail.

An OfficeMax executive did not call Seay to apologise until an online report was posted two days later.

In that incident, OfficeMax blamed the mix-up on a third-party company from which it rented a mailing list.

In McIntire’s case, she hopes to find out what happened and hopes that Bank of America might take steps to prevent such mailers in the future.

“It does amaze me that there isn’t a little more of a flag for maybe certain words or phrases going up in someone’s name field,” McIntire said.

Share

 

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive