Woman fired over death threat sent from work e-mail

An employee of 1-800-Flowers.com has been fired after an e-mailed death threat was linked to her account.

An employee of 1-800-Flowers.com has been fired after an e-mailed death threat was linked to her account.

The crudely worded e-mail was sent Sunday to Paul "PZ" Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, who is known for his criticism of religion and creationism. It was one of several hostile messages he had received following a controversial July 8 blog posting. The address on the e-mail showed that it came from Melanie Kroll at 1-800-Flowers.com, an online floral delivery service.

The note gave Myers until the first of the month to resign from his position at the University. "You have two choices," the e-mail read. "[Y]ou can quit your job for the good of the children. Or you can get your brains beat in."

On Monday, Kroll send Myers a confusing e-mail, explaining that while the threat was sent from her computer, but that she didn't write it. "It seems an e-mail went out from my work account," she wrote in an e-mail message obtained by IDG News. "I apologize and will look into the issue."

She said that her work e-mail was set as the default address on her computer and that is why the it appeared to come from her, adding that the threat was "empty" because "the people who could have used my PC are harmless."

After an internal investigation, the Internet retailer decided to terminate Kroll's position, according to Steven Jarmon, the company's vice president of brand communications. "All 1-800-Flowers.com associates are instructed that any misuse of company systems or equipment for personal purposes is potential grounds for dismissal," he wrote in an e-mail.

Kroll did not respond to an e-mailed request seeking comment for this story.

Myers, a self-described "rabid new atheist," had been getting hate mail after blogging in support of University of Central Florida student Webster Cook, [cq] who is facing suspension after removing a communion wafer from a Mass held on-campus. Once blessed, these Eucharist wafers must be consumed immediately and Church leaders have said that Cook's actions were offensive.

In the post, Myers wrote that the Eucharist wafer, which for Catholics is the transubstantiated body of Christ, was "just a cracker."

After being inundated with threatening e-mail, he decided to start posting full technical details of the messages, including the IP addresses of the mail servers involved. Although the sender address in e-mail messages can be spoofed, the IP address showed that Kroll's mail came from a mail server on 1-800-Flowers.com's network.

Myers did not take any satisfaction in Kroll's dismissal. "This was not my intent to get somebody fired," he said. "She apparently did something stupid which I don't have sympathy for. I would just rather not see people getting fired over an e-mail message."

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?