GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, has responded to a 7-year-old Grand Rapids girl who reached out to the popular news site about their article, “20 Kids’ Names That Most Often Appear On The ‘Naughty’ List.“
Ella Christie’s name was at the very top of that HuffPo list, and she wrote the “Publisher People” to tell them it was “blony.”
In a response posted on the website bearing her name, Arianna Huffington told Ella to “be proud of her beautiful name” adding she felt duty-bound to respond to Ella directly.
“Watching your TV interview, Ella, I was so impressed by your intelligence, your wit and your charm, and I am certain that you are not only very well-behaved but fearless,” part of the Huffington Post response says.
“As I have always taught my own daughters, Christina and Isabella (whose names weren’t on either list but who definitely had their naughty moments), it is so important to stand up for yourself, tell the truth and speak out when you think something is, as you wrote in your note, ‘blony.'”
Christina Anderson, an editorial director with the HuffPost told FOX 17 that Ms. Huffington didn’t think twice about responding to Ella after seeing her story.
“I have to say we were so impressed she took it upon herself to write a response,” Anderson said.
“Arianna is really a champion for being fearless and I think she really saw that in this young lady and did take it upon herself to write Ella back.”
Meanwhile, 7-year-old Ella who was still soaking it all in Friday said she “never expected this,” especially straight from the president of the HuffPost.
“It’s a big deal because she’s the whole owner of Huffington Post,” Ella said.
Mary Christie, Ella’s mother said it’s been a whirlwind of a week and was caught off guard Friday by news of the response from the Huffington Post.
“It was a surprise to me,” she said.
“I think it’s been a great lesson for (Ella) that if something in your life is bothering you or you don’t like the way something is that you can write a letter, you can do something to change it.”
The response from Arianna Huffington also included an invitation for Ella and her family to visit New York to appear on the site’s Huff Post Live web show. Brett Christie, Ella’s father, said the family will consider the offer.
“It’s been fun to see how connected the world is,” he said. “To see a fun message like this to get shared so much and to see how much fun people were having sharing it.”
Perhaps appropriately enough, in keeping with the letter theme, the first thing Ella did Friday after reading her letter from Ms. Huffington was fire back a letter of her own.
“It says, Dear Arianna, thank you for writing back and I think your words were very kind… you said a lot of kind things like be proud of your beautiful name and I was so impressed by your intelligence,” Ella read from the letter.
But unlike the previous one, this letter instead ending on a different tone: signed “your no longer furious friend, Ella.”
The original Huffington Post article compiled names from an education rewards program known as “School Stickers,” which grabbed data from nearly 60,000 students in roughly 10,000 schools across the country that use the program to offer students virtual reward stickers.
Here is Ella’s original letter to the Huffington Post: