There's junk mail, and then there's nasty mail: 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 Thursday on Twitter.
The bank tweeted her an apology and pledged to investigate, but the problem apparently originated with an academic society that was marketing jointly with the bank.
McIntire, 32, said in a phone interview that she learned about the mail in a text exchange with her mother, a screen grab of which she also posted on Twitter.
"Interesting piece of junk mail addressed to you. 'Lisa Is a slut McIntire,'" her mother texted.
"No kidding. That is how it is addressed!"
The phrasing also appeared inside the mailer.
"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 McIntire's membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society.
A spokeswoman for Bank of America told The Times that she would look into the situation.
Earlier, the bank 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."
McIntire, a former deputy communications director for one of California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's campaigns, laughed a little in describing the mailer, which was sent to her mother's home in Menlo Park. But she said she was "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."
Late in the day, McIntire said, a Golden Key spokeswoman called, apologized, and told her someone had inserted "Is a Slut" into McIntire's society membership account sometime between 2004 and 2008.
"I have personally spoken with Ms. McIntire tonight and we are researching this issue," Melissa Leitzell, vice president of communications for Golden Key, told The Times in an email. "This error happened on our end, and not with Bank of America."
McIntire has retained her sense of humor. "They haven't been able to pinpoint how 'Is a Slut' became my middle name, but they're still investigating," she tweeted.
The incident is reminiscent of one in January, when OfficeMax sent junk mail to a grieving Illinois father mentioning that his daughter had died in a car crash. OfficeMax blamed that on a third-party company from which it had rented a mailing list.
McIntire tweeted later that a Bank of America staffer called her, apologized for the incident and told her that Bank of America flags certain words — but that "slut" wasn't one of them.