Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Husband’s Hate-filled e-mail costs Wife her Job

Posted by rjbiii on July 16, 2008

We at Post Process have said it over and over again. Employees cannot treat their e-mail accounts at work as their own personal e-mail accounts. In the latest example of obviousness (a word typically associated with patent law), a husband’s death-threat to a Professor of Evolutionary Biology, sent from his wife’s e-mail account at work, has cost his wife her job.

Professor P.Z. Myers, a self-described rabid atheist, wrote several posts expressing disgust over the reaction of Catholics concerning the attempt by a Central Florida student to leave a Communion service with a wafer used for the Eucharist. Mr Myers’s posted, in an article entitled “It’s a Frackin’ Cracker!“:

Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity.

Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!

Catholics worldwide became furious.

Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker.

Myers continued:

Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?

The post drew angry reactions from Catholics, and presumably followers of other religions. Many of these called for Myer’s employer, the University of Minnesota, Morris, to remove Myers from his post. Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, released a statement:
Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.”

Some emails threatened Myer’s safety. In response, Professor Myers began to post the entire content (including e-mail header information) of the most egregious of the lot, including this one:

From: mkroll@1800FLOWERS.com
Subject: your short life
Date: July 13, 2008 8:07:31 AM CDT
To: myersp@morris.umn.edu
Delivered-To: pzmyers@gmail.com
Received: by 10.100.126.5 with SMTP id y5cs262374anc; Sun, 13 Jul 2008 06:08:03 -0700 (PDT)
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Received: from 1800flowers.int (mail2.800-flowers.net [205.153.87.31]) by mtain-a.tc.umn.edu (UMN smtpd) with ESMTP for ; Sun, 13 Jul 2008 08:08:01 -0500 (CDT)
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Paul,

what I would like to know is how did you even
get a job at a collage.

when you are obviously a moron.
How would you feel if nice folks starting ranting against
Fags, and atheist like yourself.

well sir, you don’t get to blaspheme and walk away from this.
You have two choices my fucked up friend, first you can quit your job for the good of the
children. Or you can get your brains beat in.

I give you till the first of the month, get that resignation in cunt

This e-mail, including attachments, may include confidential and/or
proprietary information, and may be used only by the person or
entity to which it is addressed. If the reader of this e-mail is
not the intended recipient or his or her authorized agent, the
reader is hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or
copying of this e-mail is prohibited. If you have received this
e-mail in error, please notify the sender by replying to this
message and delete this e-mail immediately.

Hmmm. Not too smart, eh? The header with the company name, and the footer with the disclaimer add a kind of surrealistic edge to the situation. Of course, if I’m the company from whence the message originated, I’m probably not too happy about this. Indeed, 1-800-Flowers, was not amused:

An employee of 1-800-Flowers.com has been fired after an e-mailed death threat was linked to her account.
The crudely worded e-mail was sent Sunday to Paul “PZ” Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, who is known for his criticism of religion and creationism. It was one of several hostile messages he had received following a controversial July 8 blog posting. The address on the e-mail showed that it came from Melanie Kroll at 1-800-Flowers.com, an online floral delivery service.

The final twist here, is that Mrs. Kroll evidently didn’t send the message at all. Her husband confessed to doing it:

The fact is, that this email to the so called professor, was sent by an angry male catholic, who was very upset after reading that some crazed person in a position of responsibility, charged with teaching children biology, had been encouraging people to steal and desecrate the body of CHRIST, which for Catholics is represented by the Eucharist.

I know this to be true, since I wrote the original email to this so called teacher.

Was the tone of the letter terse, and did I say I would beat his brains in, yes I did.

I wrote this in the same way one does when saying “I’ll beat your ass”, “or kick I’ll kick your butt”
or other such niceties used by members of the unpolished masses, such as myself.

Of course, death threats are no laughing matter, and this one seems to have been an empty one. For some reason, people seem to forget that much of their online activities can be tracked. In this case of course, Mr. Kroll may not so much have “forgotten,” it, but was more likely completely unaware of it. Mrs. Kroll said in one of these articles that her browser launched directly to her job’s e-mail account, meaning the couple may have used the account for all of their personal on-line correspondence. Not a good idea, ever, but especially when one intends to threaten the safety of another.

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