Aileen Siu in case of mistaken ID

What’s in a name, especially a tarnished name?


While the Internet has miraculously reconnected lost friends, it can also create the kind of nightmare in which you are misidentified, branded a racist and have your photograph circulated all over the virtual world.


Ask Toronto’s Aileen Siu.


Not the Ontario cabinet staffer who fell into disrepute after using the term “ghetto dude” in an e-mail — and mistakenly sending it to the young black job applicant to whom she was referring.


This Aileen Siu is a graduate in tourism and business at Ryerson University and works for a private company. She isn’t remotely related to the other Aileen, who left her job at Queen’s Park on Monday (whether by firing or resignation isn’t clear).

But all this week she’s been frantically trying to get bloggers and website hosts to repair her reputation and take her Facebook photo off their sites.

“I do not work in the cabinet and just because I have the same name as the person in the newspaper, that doesn’t mean it’s me,” said Siu, 25. “I do not appreciate my name being tarnished because of some other person’s mistake. There are many people with the exact name and it wouldn’t be right to target everyone with that name.”

Nasty e-mails

  • By Monday, when friends and relatives began calling her family about it, Siu knew she was in trouble. Her Facebook account had garnered more than 30 nasty e-mails, and bloggers were posting a photo and personal profile lifted from it in chat rooms.