An American author's find of an unusual young adult birthday card sparked anger across Twitter and culminated in an apology from Hallmark UK on Friday.
The card, created by company Arnold Barton, reads "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!"
Maureen Johnson, an American novelist ret-weeted a picture of the card on Twitter, with the outraged hashtage, #letsmessgirlsupearlywithcards. Johnson's tweet was re-tweeted more than 800 times by Friday afternoon.
— maureenjohnson (@maureenjohnson) December 7, 2012
Outraged users demanded answers from Hallmark, which scrambled to communicate with Hallmark UK.
@hallmarkpr I cannot believe somebody looked at this and thought, "Yes, excellent idea"
— Amy Rose Brown (@amyrosebrown) December 7, 2012
A few hours later, the company responded with an apology and an explanation.
— Hallmark Cards (@HallmarkPR) December 7, 2012
A statement posted to Hallmark UK's newsroom section of its website read:
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 is not the first time Hallmark cards have been found offensive.
In 2010, members of the Los Angeles NAACP accused the company of marketing a graduation card the group claimed included a racist greeting vocalized using a micro-speaker. The card, which had a solar system theme, included the phrase, "And you black holes, you are so ominous. Watch your back."
But members of the NAACP heard a demeaning reference, according to KABC.
"That was very demeaning to African American women. When it made reference to African American women as whores and at the end, it says 'watch your back,'" Leon Jenkins of the Los Angeles NAACP told the station.
"You hear the 'r' in there. 'Whores,' not, 'holes.' The 'r' is in there," Minnie Hatley said.
In February, Target pulled a Valentine's Day card after customers complained the card's message made light of stalking, Forbes reports.
The front reads simply: “Stalker is a harsh word,” while the inside says, “I prefer Valentine.” Kristy Welker, a Target spokeswoman, told Forbes the company had removed the card from its selection.
CORRECTION: An earlier draft stated Maureen Johnson discovered the greeting card herself while in the UK. In fact, Johnson re-tweeted the image but did not find it.