The story of a kiss on a beach in Ibiza and a lady who likes being in the public eye
On Friday, when I read a story in the Evening Standard by Ellen Widdup (@EllenWiddup) about a PR consultant named Julia Cross launching a hunt for a mystery man she met on holiday, I have to say I was cynical.
The story basically went thus: Cross, 33, went to Ibiza and met a man named Martin in a nightclub. They subsequently went to a beach and watched the sun rise and then Cross gave “Martin” her telephone number. She returned home to London and whilst waiting for a call “regaled” her friends with the “what ifs” about what had occurred.
Believing she had given the wrong number, Cross and her friends spent the following months searching for a man who lived in Tooting and works in Camden as a software developer. A key and most bizarre detail was that he had been out partying on the night Cross met him wearing a cycling helmet decorated with glow sticks. Between them they started a Facebook group named “Finding Martin” and even went as far as to stalk the pubs of Tooting with the aim of hunting down a man who plainly did not want to be found.
Ever the cynic, I discussed what Widdup called a “viral” story with a female friend. I suggested, after finding this campaign’s Facebook page had just 60 members, that this story was just a publicity stunt to catapult this PR woman into the public eye. My friend, who was more forgiving, believed what Cross claimed could be true but equally thought she had showed herself to be “desperate” and “sad.”
I investigated further on Twitter and found, contrary to Widdup’s article, no Twitter campaign to “Find Martin” but a series of Tweets from Brian Whelan (@brianwhelanhack), an editor for Yahoo!, that suggested that this whole story was an utter fake. Whelan also highlighted a previous story involving Cross and her former boyfriend Nathan from 2009 that had been published in Fabulous magazine. Here, I realised, was a woman who simply loves being in the papers.
After working my way through Whelan’s Tweets, I found the details for Widdup and contacted her directly. I asked her: “What has convinced you that this lady’s story is genuine?”
Most obligingly the journalist sent me a full summary of how she came upon the story and as she requests, I quote it in full:
“With regards to the Finding Martin article, I carried out all the appropriate checks and was in contact with Miss Cross for two weeks before the article was published. I also spoke to friends of Miss Cross who verified her story.
As a freelance journalist of some experience, when I received this viral email to my personal email account I investigated it further to see if it was a story. I was then, and remain, completely convinced this is not a PR stunt.
Furthermore, following the initial publication in the Evening Standard, I have also been in touch with, and verified the identity of, the Martin in question.
I fully understand people's fears that PR firms hold a growing influence on the British media and I share these concerns.”
Subsequently, Martin was found this morning. He does not want to be reunited with Julia Cross as he’s already got a girlfriend. Who on earth can blame him? This ghastly woman has milked the media with her pap for the last 48 hours and no doubt will now go on to do various interviews and “find me a boyfriend” pieces. Cross is a woman who may well have successfully exploited the Daily Mail and Evening Standard but all she’s really achieved is to make a fool of herself.
Today, the “Finding Martin” page has disappeared from Facebook. Perhaps Julia Cross should learn a lesson from this whole experience: “What happens in Ibiza, stays in Ibiza.”
Read the 2009 Fabulous piece about Julia Cross’s fertility at: http://www.fabulousmag.co.uk/fabmag/fabulous/features/519511/fertility-mot.html
Read the Evening Standard piece about “Finding Martin” at: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-24025901-desperately-seeking-martin-my-ibiza-love.do