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The Most Embarrassing E-Mail Ever

February 11, 2011

Sure, you’ve got an embarrassing e-mail story. But there’s not much chance it can compete with the Claire Swire affair, an e-mail related internet meme that’s 10 years old and still a good story.

It all started with a very personal e-mail conversation between British lawyer Bradley Chait and his girlfriend Claire Swire. Over the course of a brief e-mail conversation, Swire spells out her “end-game technique.” Chiat, so the story goes, can’t resist sharing the conversation with a few friends at work, who then share it with a few friends. And so on. And so on.

As the e-mail went viral and the story went public, Chait and colleagues faced disciplinary action from their law firm and nine employees of Britan’s Financial Services Authority lost their jobs. Despite being reported around the world by the BBC and other major news organizations, however, it’s not certain that the story is true.

But whether the e-mail conversation really happened or was part of a practical joke played out by Chait or his colleagues, Chait and Swire are real. Both their faces were all over English tabloids for a few weeks around the holidays in 2000. Ten years later, as the story lives on dredged up by e-mail muckrakers like us, it might as well be true.

Posted by Sherman Dickman