It started with Shaylene.
On April 19, 2017 at 2:47 p.m., a commenter by that name left a snarky message under “5 Steps to Becoming a Boss Mom,” a post on jillianharris.com about motherhood and Nike sneakers. Jillianharris.com, of course, is run by former Bachelorette Jillian Harris, who is now a successful Canadian TV personality, lifestyle blogger, and—yes—mom. The blog in question begins like so:
Good morning BOSS MOMS!! That’s right, I meant what I said, Boss MOMS! Some of you are probably thinking, what the hell is a Boss Mom?! Well, it’s exactly like a Boss Babe but we have mini me’s! Being a mom is no easy feat … you’re thrown into a world where nothing makes sense, your grasping at straws and learning as you go, all while battling post pregnancy emotions … you’re mentally and physically different than you were before and life is CHAOS!!! Lol.
The “5 Steps to Becoming a Boss Mom” include, among other suggestions: accepting your body, using an iCal, and dressing comfortably—ideally in Nike apparel, because the post is sponsored by Nike, and interspersed with photos of Jillian in pink Nikes.
Shaylene was unhappy about the sponsored nature of the post, and made her views known.
“I’m confused. You just did a post about hating the mom bod now you are embracing it? I guess your thoughts change depending on who is paying you to post, eh gurl?” she wrote. “The sponsored content is out of control. #adsouttheasshole.”
Shaylene’s creative hashtag did not make her any friends in the comments section of jillianharris.com. At 4:14 p.m., Mrs Forde chimed in. “@Shaylene, If you dont have anything nice to say- dont. If you disagree with Jillian and dislike that her blog has sponsored posts I suggest you stop following and reading. No one likes a negative nancy. Jillian, thank you for the positive Mom post! All Moms need this reminder. Girl power! Mom power!”
Sticking up for Shaylene, a commenter called Bojinder asserted to Mrs Forde that one ought to accept the fact that opinions will differ on the internet. “I suggest you get used to it,” Bojinder sniffed. Commenter Libby Lopez shot back: “Hey Bojinder. You’re an awful human being. Sincerely, the rest of planet earth.”
Confused? Overwhelmed? My friends, this drama has only just begun. Commenter Emma agreed with Shaylene, albeit using many, many more words and an elaborate brag about her extensive experience studying the influencer model:
I’ve also noticed how totally out of control the sponsored content is – I just made a comment on the last post too. Sorry Team Jilly, don’t mean to pile on here but…yah. These posts that are supposedly about motherhood that are actually just ads are really sad to me. The post about Leo’ eating solid foods was especially sad-making, I thought. If you want to trade on your newfound status as a mom to sell some pink shoes, I mean, I don’t buy it, but ok, but please please please don’t use your child as a tool to make money. Don’t dress up a story about some gross mush in a tube as if it is you giving us an honest assessment about the choices you’ve made as a mom. Those are choices you made as a business woman. It just makes me shudder. I get that you say you truly endorse all these products with your own opinions etc but…using your kid to sell stuff is just gross. It’s just compounded by the way that you pretend that you are taking little insta videos about him when you are really just starting at yourself in the screen and fixing your hair in the mirror. I mean, you don’t really expect us to believe that you ACTUALLY ask your tiny baby “how are you doing?!” in a fake sing-song-y voice all day every day…I also don’t believe that the opinions you are expressing are true. How can you say you use Pantene every time you wash your hair, and then turn around a month later and plug a new shampoo, and oh, this one’s cruelty free, which is your main priority, never mind that Pantene tests on animals and you’re still promoting leather shoes.
**disclaimer: please don’t accuse me of being an unhappy person. I’m not. I have an MBA and have spent the last 2 years studying the influencer business model. Whoever is advising Jillian on her marketing is giving her lots of bad advice, from her post about being “vegan-ish” to the way she uses her baby as a marketing tool. If you read reviews of Love it or List it Vancouver they almost always mention Jillian’s obsession with selling products…this is someone failing at using this business model. I have no idea what kind of person or mother Jillian is, and I do not mean to levy ANY criticism against either of those things. I just think the business model is bad, and is clearly getting out of hand.
There are nearly 300 comments underneath “5 Steps to Becoming a Boss Mom,” and a good chunk of them are dedicated to telling Emma to go fuck herself.
“You are the absolute worst, Emma!” one commenter wrote. “Obviously, this horrible woman has never had a baby in her life because EVERYONE talks to babies in a singy-songy voices.” She added: “Also, vegan-ish is a thing. It is a really hard transition to go full on vegan and I am struggling with the same thing.”
In time, the post’s author opted to respond. First, Jillian responded to Shaylene, while also noting that she is embarrassed to even be responding, because it was a huge waste of time:
It sounds like you stumbled upon the wrong blog! Hope you found your way out and don’t stumble back in, for fear that my content should offend you again to the point you have to swear and try to hide it behind a hashtag!
Also, I never said i hated my mom bod.
This post ‘happens’ to be sponsored but the content was already written and prescheduled as ‘unsponsored’…. We got lucky enough to get a sponsor to back the post. But the words, the intent and the content isn’t influenced, fake or false… and while it may seem like I flip flop…. I will tell you. One day I am proud of this new body of mine… and some days I don’t recognize it and want to work to change it. Not sure if you’ve had kids but if you have I think you will understand this ‘conflict of interest”
Are you upset that i’m getting paid to do my job? You understand that a blog will over 1 million readers a month is a TON of work and we’d be CRAZY to do it for free… I have 2 AMAZING fabulous women that work for me full time and LOVE their jobs. I get to bring my baby to work, support my family, support my community, support charities, dress up for work and am living my dream job. I am not hurting anyone, or offending anyone.
Correct me if i’m wrong but there are actually BAD people out there, who are miserable, mean, selfish, rude…. if by chance i had a spare moment to criticize someone else’s ‘job’ or efforts…. i would probably start there… but i guess we already know that you and I have little in common.
I wake up every morning and ask, how can i juggle being a great mom, a successful business person all while inspiring my employees, my family, my readers … how can i make the day more fun? How can i be more confident? how can i make my readers happy? I challenge myself daily and I LOVE it … and ,I will keep doing it, and, i will keep accepting appropriate sponsored posts to grow my business and keep my employees happy, so THEY can continue to make the world happier too… and hopefully help ‘cheer’ people like you up so they care less about ‘sponsored blogs’ and more about just being happy.
lastly – I really do try to take constructive criticism to heart, but in this instance i am SO embarrassed i took the time to respond to you… instead of taking the time to virtually hug all the happy lovers who follow me. That is my only regret.
Have a fabulous weekend, sending you LOVE and happiness and praying you find a blog that inspires you and makes you smile, obviously mine is not it. xo
Approximately 30 minutes later, Jillian also addressed Emma:
No one is advising me of anything. I am a very imperfect human who is sharing my very imperfect life, views & decisions. Criticize me for it, its ok. I would rather be criticized for being imperfect or inconsistent than everyone loving a FAKE persona.
What you see is real, and its not always correct and consistent and I am proud and ok with that.
Just trying to address a few of your notes here:
Why is it wrong to share that I am trying to be plant based? I called it ‘vegan-ish’ once … and realized that was the wrong word to use and continue to get shit on because of it. My god people. its a WORD… i am DOING MY BEST to do THE RIGHT THING. to do something positive and make a change… or is it wrong to talk about it because i haven’t totally succeeded? because I’m not perfect at it? I’m just confused why this was wrong to share.
Also, i DO feed leo Love Child Organics. Does this make me a bad mom in your opinion? are you a mom? have you tried it what perfect food do you feed your child? why do you think its gross? I’m not sure WHY you think i am lying when i say i use something… but, i’m sorry, if i say i use something… i use it. Leo loves it, and that is why i posted about it. I tried Love Child Organics for 2 months and then accepted the sponsored post. Love Child was also happy to not only compensate me for promoting her business, but we also donated VERY VERY generously to our local food bank as well. Should I start to question you what YOU do for you community? how YOUR job allows you to help others?
I also use and test MANY different products. Its a part of this business is trying different products out and giving me assessments. There is more than ONE good shampoo out there… I use Pantene hairspray everyday and tried Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner everyday, long enough to give my true honest opinion about it. I continued to use it at my Vancouver apartment and also use Avalon Organics in Kelowna. This is a TRUE STORY, which is WHY i wrote about it.
When i run out of those products, i will likely try something else and blog about that (have any suggestions??) and, if i get approached by another hair company, I might put those products on hold and give it a try… and then decide if its a good fit to blog about! I LOVE trying new products and thus, the appearance that I flip flop.
You mention that from a marketing and business perspective that what i am doing is “not working” and bad business… but, however, i would disagree. Of course I know because I see our financial statements and how happy the girls are that work for me. I also see the analytics and so Im afraid your statement is incorrect.
This ‘blog’, while it is a true representation of my life, is also a business (yes sometimes tricky to navigate and balance) but as a business, it has been lucrative, fun and succesful. I have employed several girls / people over the years and paid them well, taken them on trips, treated them, helped them reach their financial goals. I’ve been a good boss and I’ve loved this business i’ve built.
lastly, your comment about ‘how i use my baby for work’ is ‘GROSS’ … I asked your previously, If you have kids? Have you ever had to LEAVE your baby with a stranger so you can go back to work? Have you ever sobbed in your car wishing you didn’t have to go back to work and just wished somehow you could continue to do what you love, and bring your baby along? Maybe one day, when you have a baby (assuming you don’t have one because no MOTHER would ever attack another NEW mom for trying to stay afloat and support her family in the way SHE feels best) you will see, how PAINFUL and HEARTBREAKING it is to leave your baby to go back to work. .I started this blog to build a business, so that ONE DAY i could DO exactly what i am doing now… MAKING MONEY, SUPPORTING MY FAMILY all while getting to BE WITH MY BABY. What i am able to do is AMAZING and wonderful and i am SO grateful that i can throw leo on my hip and get my photo taken and get paid for it. SO SO grateful. I only WISH and hope every woman and mother out there had the opportunity to bring their baby to work… and not be criticized for ‘selling them out ‘
Good luck what your career Emma. I hope it brings you the success and happiness that my career does! I have so much fun doing what i do i have NO time to criticize others on their business! :)
Ps. I really do talk to leo like that all day.
That, however, was certainly not the end of that. A commenter named Shay—“I think Emma and Shay are the SAME person,” a Shay and Emma critic theorized—really took things to the next level:
Jillian- you really came off as a right bitch here. Thanks for finally showing people your true self
Now go eat some meat and wear some leather shoes. You really don’t get it do you.
An army descended upon Shay. “Who the hell shit in your Cheerios this morning? Certainly wasn’t Jillian!” one commenter wrote. “@Shay The only person coming off as a “right bitch” here is you,” said another.
Laura, another commenter, implored Jillian to ignore all the negativity, because actually Laura has been loving the #sponcon! “Your post was clearly sponsored, but as a mom reading it, felt genuine,” she explained.
Alyssa had more positive vibes to share, specifically about sponsored content, which she also loves:
1. You are so brave to make your life your work. You are BRAVE.
2. I love being told what to buy. Sponsored content opens my world in ways that would otherwise keep the doors to this great big world of entrepreneurs and small (and big) business closed.
3. My Pop said cry when people hurt you, give it all you’ve got. For 15 minutes. Don’t give the haters your heart space any more than that. I’m pretty sure you already know how much the rest of us love you!
4. Did I mention how brave it is for you to put your life out there for all to see as a means to provide for your family and encourage your followers?
(Mom of two boys 3 and 6…I know it’s hard to imagine but every phase of boy-momhood is better than the last)
As is the tendency in comment sections, thing continued on like this for a while. Jillian eventually shared an Insta-story capturing her emotional response to the handful of rude and/or critical comments under “5 Steps to Becoming a Boss Mom”:
This display of raw emotion infuriated her sympathetic supporters even more.
“Ohhhhh helllll nooo, you moody ass mom shaming, success hating, troll ass anonymous bitches,” a commenter named “A much nicer Emma” writes. At one point, alarmingly, an anonymous commenter claiming to have worked with Jillian at a non-profit shares an unflattering story, alleging that the former Bachelorette star is “like Donald Trump, with his social media outbursts when people criticize him.” Jillian did not respond to this, as far as I can tell—the comments seem to be out of order, which I would say is my primary criticism for you, Jillian, if you’re reading this.
“PEOPLE! Posting comments like this is NOT OKAY,” Erika admonished, taking inspiration from The Help to support her point. “Y’all should have your mouths washed out with a bar of soap if you actually said these mean, hurtful things out loud. The fact that Jillian’s blog is her job, and she is lucky enough to have been successful with it, is besides the point. She is a PERSON. She is KIND, she is SMART, and she is IMPORTANT.”
Looking forward to reading all of your compliments in the comments section below.