Jenny The Dry Erase HOPA Hoax

Jenny, the hottie who quit her job in style using a dry erase board and became an Internet sensation, is actually an actress named Elyse Porterfield.

Yesterday, the social media sites were buzzing with the story of Jenny, a lovely young lass who quit her job in style, sending a series of photos with a dry erase board to the entire office and outing her erstwhile boss, Spencer, as a leering jackass who spent all his time playing Farmville.

Most of the commentary was divided along the lines of “This is the coolest chick, ever” and “What a dumb girl! Nobody’s gonna hire her after this!

But, alas, this was almost certainly a hoax.    Gawker’s Ryan Tate calls it “The Quitting Tale That Suckered the Whole Internet.”   MediaMemo‘s Peter Kafka apparently was the first to figure it out:

The story showed up this morning on, a dude-centric site run by brothers John and Leo Resig, who own a series of photo/humor sites. (That’s Leo on the left.) Before that, the Resigs ran a site called Derober, which features doctored photos of celebrities in their underwear.

And Derober’s moment in the spotlight came back in December 2007, when it made up a story about Donald Trump leaving a $10,000 tip on a $82.27 bill. The story was convincing enough to fool Fox News and the New York Post (both of which are owned by News Corp., which also owns this site).

Apparently, some of the morning shows have been trying to book Jenny, too. Who, it’s being reported, is actually an actress named Elyse Porterfield.

Aside from the Resig brothers connection, there are all manner of indications that the story is dubious.

  • The posing and photo quality are both professional
  • Why would a boss spying on his employee’s Internet habits give the codes to his secretary?
  • Why would Jenny think being a secretary was a route to becoming a broker?
  • Why would she consider being referred to as a HOPA grounds for quitting?
  • Why does she think HOPA and HPOA are the same thing, anyway?
  • It’s plausible that a broker is spending a lot of time on Scottrade.  But Farmville?  Seriously?
  • The story was “broken” on a professional comedy site

It’s amazing how often these things go viral without people getting suspicious.

UPDATE:  TheChive has confessed to their little hoax.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LaurenceB says:

    Not to get all snarky, but a little further down the page on your blog, where you casually re-printed some crazy, right-wing blogger’s falsehoods and borderline libel concerning a woman <b>who is not a drag queen and is a teacher</b>, you might have been better served to have paused for a moment to employ those same powers of discernment by which we recognize what is, and what is not, an internet farce.
    Hint:  On the internet, the <i>source</i> of the information is often the best clue as to the seriousness/veracity of the content.

  2. czekmark says:

    So Jenny was a hoax but it was cleverly done, no one was hurt by it and it was entertaining.