In the current social media environment, all it takes is one Twitter user tweeting one simple pic and a firestorm of controversy can be ignited. Such was the case when one Twitter user snapped a picture of a Hallmark UK greeting card telling 13-year-old girls they’ll get better presents when they get “bigger boobies,” and it got picked up by another Twitter user with a whole lot of followers. And cue media storm.
The trouble started last week when a woman in the UK snapped a photo of the greeting card at her local news agent and posted it to Twitter, writing, “Look at this shockingly awful card I found today for a 13 year old!”
The card from a company called Arnold Barton but sold by Hallmark bears message: “You’re 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend he’d give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will — when you’ve bigger boobies!”
Face, meet palm. Author and popular Twitter personality Maureen Johnson picked up on the photo and also tweeted it out, directing her personal ire at Hallmark PR. Although the photo clearly bears the British woman’s Twitter tag, multiple news outlets appear to have reported that Johnson was the original discoverer of the card.
Since the controversy first hit, Hallmark has been covering its tracks in the hopes of containing a major public backlash, posting multiple statements on its corporate site for the UK. First:
“This card was printed over 15 years ago by Arnold Barton before Hallmark UK acquired that brand. This card has not been reproduced since and we are surprised that a copy was still available for purchase in a retail store. We agree the card is not appropriate; we apologize on behalf of Arnold Barton and will do our best to track down any copies remaining in circulation.”
“This card was produced by Creative Publishing prior to Hallmark Cards acquiring the company in 1998. We are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to have discovered that there are still copies in circulation. The card has not been produced for over 15 years and would never pass our own strict guidelines of taste and appropriateness. We would like to assure all our customers that we will do everything in our power to track down remaining copies.”
If I’d received that card as a 13-year-old by any well-meaning adult I would’ve been mortified. Completely. Mortified.