Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From Pepsi

Dear Down With Trolls,

Your e-mail has been forwarded to my attention.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Pepsi-Cola and sharing the information with us about Gina Johnson.
You can be certain that we will pass your e-mail along to the appropriate people here at headquarters.

Again, thanks for your message and for sharing your thoughts.


Robin Harris
Senior Consumer Relations Representative

42 comments:

Sally said...

IF it's true Paul/Q/Quoof agreed to repay:

A friend of mine (ex co-worker)donated to the Wii, how can I make sure she gets her money??? SHE deserves it! Does it get credited to their Paypal account or what?

If it were my personal money I wouldn't care as much - but of anyone, this person, who has NO connection with CF except through me, an ex co-worker (of over 5 years!), she SHOULD get it returned to her (two-fold, IMO)

grrr

Melissa said...

Eh, who's to say the whole Pepsi thing even existed? Why wouldn't that just have been another lie from Gina? Because as I recall, didn't a "reader" supposedly send the request to Pepsi? Where would the reader have gotten Gina's address information since that wasn't given out on the blog?

And even IF the Pepsi thing really happened, who cares? It's not like they sent her cash or something, just some stuff with Pepsi on it. One time I called to complain to Pepsi about something (I can't remember what it was now) and they sent my son a Pepsi t-shirt and some paper. Big deal.

Sally said...

oh, by the way, her name is Vikki

...grrrr

CFer81 said...

I do not believe anything written on this site. I would not at all be surprised to find out that Gina (if that is even her name) is writing all of this.

Has anyone ELSE contacted the authorities?

Tracy said...

FOrgive my stupidity, but why is her name listed as Gina Johnson? I thought it was Gina Foerentino or something like that? This whole things is getting really suspicious!

Melissa said...

Sometime someone commented she went by Gina Johnson. But that makes me question the whole thing even more - HOW did a reader even know her last name to send it to Pepsi?

DownWiththeTrolls said...

Gina went by "Gina Johnson." She had everything sent to her parents' house in MN under "Gina Johnson" as well.

A few members of the CF board also said they sent her things at her parents' home in MN with the name "Gina Johnson".

DownWiththeTrolls said...

There was a comment on one of the posts that let Pepe know she needed her contact info so she could send it to Pepsi.

We hadn't heard the purported hospital name before. Wonder if anyone has chosen to NOT go there because Pepe had such bad care? We bet U of MN would be interested in hearing about it....

Gibson Twins said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Not Feeling said...

a) Gibsontwins, your email address is visible on your profile.

b) Regardless of my own opinon on Pauls actions, it seems totally wrong that you would put his email address on this site without his consent.

Sally said...

A quote from my friend on the B.S. going on:

"What a nagging mystery this is! Kinda like an unexpected yeast infection that won't go away! "

kgirl said...

Hi Gibson Twins,

Thanks for posting Paul's letter and his e-mail address....people should be able to contact him if they feel the need after something like this happens....so don't let people make you second guess yourself! He doesn't have to answer the e-mails and will probably just ignore them....just like he took down all his other sites....that is what makes him look guilty to me. If he didn't have anything to do with this mess then just be out there and tell the truth....I am sure many would have great sympathy for him! Maybe you should e-mail him back, since he has turned to you, and ask him why he closed down all his info on the other sites.

Kim said...

DWT,

Could you please delete/remove the inappropriate posting of Paul's email address on this site? That was totally uncalled for, Gibsontwins. He obviously found your email in your profile. So what if he didn't introduce himself in the opening statment of his email?? Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? I hope I'm never on trial the day you have jury duty.

My3SonsMom said...

I guess I'm naive because I never in a million years would've thought that someone would've done what Gina/Pepe/Peanut/whomever has done. Looking back at some of the posts, I'm stunned by the intelligently written details. I started reading only in the last few months so I missed practically all the drama. I read where Blake was "suicidal". What was that all about?
There's no end to this craziness.
It makes me think Paul/Q might be gearing up for a bestselling book.
Reminds me of "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey.

DownWiththeTrolls said...

***From gibsontwins. We pulled the comment because it had Paul's email address. We have not posted Gina's contact information, nor Paul's. Granted we have given enough information to find it your self, but potatoes/potahtoes.***

Paul Mooney felt the need to email me (keep in mind I do not know who this guy is except for after the FOP drama broke out, having googled his name to find info on him- have never had any correspondence whatsoever with him). This was really odd and very soap opera ish.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure (or because you're sitting inside on a sunny day):

No, Gina was smart and i was stupid. Yes, I knew the medical vocab because of decades of being treated for this. Cysitcs are pretty conversant in their disease. But so was Gina, and I grilled her (or "Blake") for specifics every night and interpreted them to the reader as best as I could. (And yes, I heard the whoosh of O2, the gurgle of suction, the beeps -- and even her chewing on her vent tube. How she pulled these off I don't know, but the computer would be my guess.) I thought it was an amazing story and potentially a good resource for people. But mostly, I wanted "Pepe" to feel supported in her struggle. Equally, her friends wanted to know exactly how she was doing.


None of us knew it was fake. No one mentioned it to me. We all look back and see red flags, but those of us involved really trusted Gina at the time.


You might never believe this, just as I doubt I'll ever fully believe anyone again. But know this. While I dropped down to a REAL 12 percent, lost all but three lobes, went through a rough transplant and reoperation, lay in coma, and dug my way through almost four months of pain so demoralizing I just about have up, she pleaded for my help in the middle of nearly every night. I avoided or held off ER more than once because she was going through a medical crisis that turned out to be made up. You readers might feel fooled, but I'm the prize-fool here. As you know, intelligence is not the same as emotional skill or discernment.


I've written to DWT and several posters who seemed reasonable. I'll keep my main statements on this to the CF board where I normally post, but I thought I'd share these bits with you.


Best,
P


*** I have never commented on the FOP site or on any message boards or on his apparent blog. Like I said, weird. But, he emailed me like he knew me (never said Hi, I'm Paul Mooney, the guy accused of all this scamming). He just sent the above email to me.

Sally- it doesn't seem likely that the funds will be redistributed to the donors. Most likely the CFF which is still acceptable.

Want Paul's email address? Here it is:

Why not have one from your own website, Paul? That doesn't throw up any red flags....

August 19, 2008 1:34 PM

kgirl said...

DWT....why doesn't your actions (removing the e-mail address) surprise me? What happen to free speech? If Paul felt like he had the "right" to e-mail her....then she had the "right" to do what she did with that info....he's the one that put it out there. You shouldn't be so quick to honor others request....

Kathryn said...

How was the Pepsi company even involved with this ???

Melissa said...

Personally, I don't see what the big deal is in putting Paul's email address on here. Maybe if more people actually contacted *the source* of all of this mess we could get to the bottom of it faster.

Oksana said...

Hi DWT... I've been lurking on this blog, and I applaud your work so far -- your sleuthing as well as your efforts in moderating the comments.

I don't think, however, that it is necessary to give this sotry to the media as some have suggested. What would this accomplish but to discourage people from donating to CF-related funds?

CF is so rarely mentioned in the media, that this story would be the first that most viewers would hear of it... it's not the best idea to give people this kind of "first impression" on the totally-innocent CF community.

Just two cents... thank you for all the work you've done so far!

Kim said...

Free speech? Kgirl, what about everyone deserves a fair trial before being convicted?

kgirl said...

Kim, who said anything about convicting Paul??? Not me. Just saying if he thinks he has the RIGHT to e-mail someone he doesn't know, then they have the RIGHT to do what they want with that info. Why do you feel it was okay for him to e-mail her and not feel like it's okay for others to e-mail him? I think Paul would have many people supporting him if he put himself out there. I am sure many would reach out to comfort him feeling that he has been through something horrible and he has, if he really was fooled by this person. I myself would feel VERY sorry for him, but it just seems strange how he took down all his stuff at the same time Gina did also.

Skully said...

DWT - you haven't posted Gina's contact info? I'm calling bullshit. You copied and pasted from the email you received from her, which included her email address in its entirety.

DownWiththeTrolls said...

Skully, that is not Gina's current email address. She has changed it. We know and have not posted her new email address.

Lucy said...

Kathryn said...
How was the Pepsi company even involved with this ???

On the Friends of Pepe blog it said that one of the readers requested that Pepsi send her some gifts because she loves Siera Mist so much. The blog names several gifts that were sent to Pepe and a letter from Pepsi saying she was their number one fan. Can someone post it? The cache is gone. Search shows is was Day 26.

Kim said...

In response to kgirl: I feel like it was ok for Paul to email Gibson Twins because her email is clearly posted in her profile. Paul had no choice whether or not his email was exposed once it was posted here for all to see. Could someone have done the detective work and found it via his website? Sure. But posting it here just gives the people on this site, who are clearly on a witch hunt, a place to vent their anger. Anger which should be directed at Gina. He hasn't been convicted? Oh please, spare me. The fact that he took down his website and FOP when all this came to light is used as proof of his guilt? Come on people, if you were receiving death threats and hate mail, wouldn't you remove your website? And if you found out that something/someone you had believed in and worked tirelessly for had been a sham, wouldn't you take down that website? That doesn't make him guilty. I can understand your anger, I was one who followed Pepe's blog daily, spent time worrying over her and donated money to her Wii. But don't shoot the messenger. Just because Paul maintained the website doesn't make him the "mastermind" behind this. Putting up his email address was a violation of privacy: if he wanted his email out it should be his choice. And trust me, there are plenty in the CF community who support him and already have his contact information. Gibson twins didn't need to put it here and that was just meant to stir up trouble. He emailed her not to be belligerent, but to rationally address the points she was making. I didn't see anything inflammatory in his email. Interesting how she didn't post her email back to him on this site.....

Lucy said...

This gets more twisted every day! What do you suppose Paul meant when he wrote to Gibson Twins, "I've written to DWT and several posters who seemed reasonable." Not that I think you're unreasonable, GT, but why would Paul feel this was reasonable?

Gibson Twins said...
CureCFNow-
it was Paul writing the FOP updates. he's an english professor (or atleast was) in illinois.

he's in on this. no doubt in my mind at all. but it will come out, completely confident in that. he was just more thorough in thinking ahead to cover up his tracks. gina was pretty stupid about that part of it.

DownWiththeTrolls said...

Day 33, actually:

"I read with great interest the email sent and knew for sure that you, (Pepe), are almost certainly our #1 Sierra Mist fan! It means so much learning that after being in a coma, as your taste buds awoke, it was Sierra Mist that was your first request. We are honored and inspired to keep working hard producing the highest quality beverage for those who want it most, devoted consumers like you.

"To know that in some small way our product has brought enjoyment, fulfillment and refreshment to you even during some of the darkest times is immeasurable. We want to take the time to recognize your unwavering loyalty to Sierra Mist. We don't take it lightly and we really appreciate it. In that spirit, I am enclosing something to remember your friends here at Pepsi."

As Sierra Mist's number one fan, Pepe merited a Pepsi gym bag, a Pepsi lapel pin, a snazzy X-large Pepsi T-shirt, an Aquafina water bottle, a Pepsi refrigerator magnet, a pad of Pepsi note paper (on which she wrote her requests while vented), and two manufacturer's coupons, each for a "twelve-pack of bottles or cans of any Pepsi Cola product." Pepe joked that the company had calculated this to be a lifetime supply, but in fact it's only an afternoon's. Still, it was quite a pile of swag for the Pepsi Kid, or the Sierra Mist Miss. She was altogether pleased by it. So, many thanks to Pepsi, and thanks especially to reader Diana. You brightened an otherwise dismal day.

Kim said...

This is what I'm talking about: Ia quote from Gibson Twins)
"he's in on this no doubt in my mind about that". Not convicted? Sounds like a pretty damning one to me! I ask you- what did he gain from this? A Wii? No, that was sent to Gina. Money? No, that was donated to CFRI. Why on earth would he knowingly participate in such a scam? What's the motive here?

kgirl said...

Kim, I agree with Lucy when she writes, "Not that I think you're unreasonable, GT, but why would Paul feel this was reasonable?" WHY would Paul feel like it was safe enough to e-mail GT when she is far from on his side? If she's reasonable then why not just address everyone and tell his side of the story? Did I miss it somewhere (and I very well could have), but where is the proof that Paul was getting death threats?

Clamshellmuni said...

I'll make this one post here because I feel it is an appropriate topic. I do not mind people emailing me with reasonable questions and open minds. However, as predicted, the publishing of my email address here for even an hour resulted in a handful of drive-bys from writers whose return addresses bounce. So it only results in harassment. In part, this stems from the general hostility here -- understandable, perhaps, but not something I choose to add to.

I've emailed other commentators who asked specific, relevant questions. If you have your email posted in your blogger profile, I assume you are open to receiving respectful replies to your queries. And for the sake of expedience, I have made my statements about l'Affaire Pepe in one place, CF2Chat, from where I knew it would make the rounds. All those comments were quickly published here, so you know where I stand, whether or not you believe me.

The email posted in this thread also reflects my views, and I have no objection to it being up -- except the usual creepiness that comes with posting private communications. As it describes, no one has been hurt but this deceit more than me. Some might have given $25, which is easily returned. I lost a year, a great friend I thought I had, and a lot of sleep that would have greatly aided in my own recovery. I also feel bad for people who notonly believed Pepe but poured their hearts out; I realize their wound is great. Last, I feel bad for Gina F, whether you approve of that or not. It's sad that she feels she has to resort to dishonesty to fulfill some gaping need and will always be doomed to lose whatever friends she makes as a result.

To answer one last question, I put my blog on ice because it was being flamed relentlessly, and I have better things to do that to sit and edit vulgarities. When things cool down, Transplantland will be open again. There's nothing on it I'm ashamed of, and only two or three entries that even mention Pepe.

That's all. Expect any further news, if warranted, to travel here from CF2Chat. I don't expect it or this to be received well here, but as they say, "it's the Internet."

Kim said...

kgirl: perhaps he emailed her to explain his side? If people are already on his side, why would he need to further convince them? Doesn't it make more sense to try to explain things to those who don't believe you?

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clamshellmuni said...

For "no one has been hurt but this" in paragraph 3, read:

"No one has been hurt by this..."

In the same 'graph, for "notonly," read:

"not only"

Thanks. Small box, bad prednisone eyes.

kgirl said...

Kim....you could be right. Thanks for sharing your views....gave me some things to think about. If Paul was really fooled by Gina I feel truly sad for him. I think on some level they "both" felt like they loved each other...what a horrible thing to have to give up. Any idea about the proof about the death threats?

Paul....great e-mail and thanks for answering the question about putting your blog on ice...I hope you soon decide to open it back up! One last thing...what a great person you must be to feel bad for Gina....maybe she took this way too far, but it just shows how much she must really need a friend and some good mental health help...she might not have CF, but she does have some type of illness.

*Saddened* said...

I for one find it valiant of Paul to even post a comment here.

Regardless of the "who" is to blamed for the endless heartache that was inflicted, I plan to pray for the people behind the "Pepe" because they need it the most.

Whether the prayers are for mental illness, loss of friendship, or the heartache of the readers, I will be praying for Gina, Paul, the used friends, the Pepsi Company, the Hospital, the CF & transplant community as a whole, the investigating units, DWT, and all the readers that lost countless hours of clicks to read the news of a made-up character.

kgirl said...

Saddened...I agree with you. It was very brave and noble of him. And yes Kim, I think many will be happy and pleased that he took the time and effort to address our questions.

Kim said...

Thanks kgirl and Saddened. I truly believe that Gina needs the prayers despite the destruction and heartbreak she has caused. Paul is the biggest victim here, having lost not only money, a dear friend, countless hours of his life but now having to defend his innocense and good name. That's not to say that there haven't been many, many victims in this situation, only that Paul has lost the most and can still find it in his heart to offer kindness. Thanks everyone and goodnight.

Gibson Twins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

I, too, am glad that Paul made the decision to post here. I have found it truly sad that all the wonderful people who prayed so fervently for someone can turn around and be so hateful. I was an avid follower of the FOP blog from transplant on - but had read the entire story a few times. I checked it several times a day for updates and stayed up many nights until the update was posted. I prayed for, thought of and cried for Gina countless times.
While I am relieved that someone finally discovered the scam, I am saddened at the hostility from so many who just a week ago were offering frequent prayer.
I know this incident has been hard on many, especially the CF community, and that so many feel betrayed, but I think that there is only a very small percent of people that go to the extreme of making up stories as Gina did. It is just so sad that this incident has made people so distrusting. While I did not donate any money to Gina, I did have her in my heart and it was truly breaking for her, but I will continue to pray and support anyone that requests it and I will always be empathetic to others struggles and suffering. Maybe I will be duped several more times in my life, but that is just who I am.
My heart goes out to you, Paul.

Aspiemom said...

Proud of you, Paul.

Well said.

ygtbkm said...

"While I dropped down to a REAL 12 percent, lost all but three lobes, went through a rough transplant and reoperation, lay in coma, and dug my way through almost four months of pain so demoralizing I just about have up, she pleaded for my help in the middle of nearly every night."
August 19, 2008 1:34 PM



Well, maybe you didn't give up because "Pepe" pleaded for your help every night?

She gave you a reason to live.

Just a thought.

ygtbkm said...

To answer one last question, I put my blog on ice because it was being flamed relentlessly, and I have better things to do that to sit and edit vulgarities.
August 19, 2008 5:22 PM


Um... Turn comments off.