Liverpool FC has apologized to a fan holding a parody twitter account, who claims to have been threatened by the club’s communication director Jen Chang. Chang worked as an editor at Sports Illustrated and ESPN before joining Liverpool’s team last May.
A Liverpool fan, Sean Cummins, wrote under a parody twitter account as a fake journalist “Duncan Jenkins.” Some of his tweets hit close to home, convincing Liverpool brass he had a mole within the club. Cummins claims Chang hired an investigator to track him down, met with him and threatened punitive actions against him if he did not tweet there was no mole within Liverpool.
Chang purportedly threatened to ban Cummins, a season-ticketholder, from Anfield for life.
He said I would be banned from Anfield for life. I told him the season ticket – which I share – was not in my name. He said it didn’t matter, and that both I and the lad who owns the season ticket would be reimbursed and then given lifetime bans from Anfield. He then started to talk about what a disaster this would be for me – how not only would I lose the season ticket and be banned for life, but I would upset a friend who would be banned for life through no fault of his own. I told him I’d known my friend since we were both 4 years old (my point being that our friendship would not be jeopardised by a ridiculous situation like this). He took it the wrong way and re-emphasised what a disaster it would be for me to lose a lifelong friend.
He also purportedly threatened to release damaging information about Cummins to the media, fomenting a smear campaign. He specifically mentioned fans flooding his mailbox with “dog shit.”
He told me that if I didn’t tweet as requested by Thursday night, and/or that further checks with their suspected mole revealed links to me, that he would hand over all of my info (from the dossier compiled by the people hired to find me) to the embittered journalists and ask them to do their worst, to run smear stories on me in the tabloid press. He said “they will make your life hell, and will turn all Liverpool supporters against you. The papers will say you cost the club you claim to love serious money, that you wilfully damaged the club”.
“You know how crazy football fans are”, he said, “You’ll have dog shit coming through your letterbox, you’ll have to take your Facebook page down, you might even have to move house”.
He repeated the stuff about dog shit coming through my letterbox several times, reiterating that football fans, especially Liverpool FC fans, are crazy and would make my life a living hell.
He then said the papers would also “ruin your Dad’s online business”.
Chang initially said the allegations were “total nonsense,” though the written apology suggests otherwise. It’s never good when your PR team is the part of the organization creating the PR gaffes. We never interacted with Chang, though multiple colleagues expressed their belief this was out of character.