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Festival fined for 'distressing' texts pretending to be people's mums

All of the facepalms.

A MANCHESTER MUSIC festival has been fined £70,000 (€88,804) after sending promotional texts claiming to be the recipients’ mums.

The Parklife festival organisers were fined after complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK, who claimed many of the festival-goers who received the messages suffered from ‘substantial distress’. They received a total of 76 complaints about the text.

_79516200_parklifetext Source: Screenshot via BBC Newsbeat

One recipient of the text was 19-year-old Rosalind Prior, who lost her mother to multiple sclerosis three years ago. She wrote an email to the organisers after bursting into tears upon opening the text.

BniquwUCAAABVRy Source: RosPrior

She wasn’t alone. According to the BBC, the ICO received multiple complaints, including one young man who had also lost his mother and was ‘distressed’ at the ‘unprofessional and disgusting message’

The BBC also report that some people sold their tickets to the festival upon receiving the distasteful message back in June, three weeks before the event was due to take place.

The festival first dealt with the backlash with a joke, tweeting:

So this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt

But the company has since co-operated with the investigation, saying in a statement

The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone. The Parklife Weekender wants to apologise for any offence caused by the SMS marketing message sent to their customers earlier this year.

The ICO say the fine will put across the message that this kind of marketing is ‘unacceptable’.

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