Holy Hannah

GARLAND, Texas — The opening line to an essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to an upcoming Hannah Montana concert was a powerful one: “My daddy died this year in Iraq.”

Except that he didn’t.

The girl’s mother admitted to contest organizers that the essay and the military information she provided about her daughter’s father were untrue. Now the sponsor of the contest is considering taking away the girl’s tickets, said the CEO of Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store that sells clothes, accessories and games intended for young girls.

“Considering taking away the girl’s tickets”? Considering?

It’s not like Murdoc cares about Hannah Montana or anything like that. But if they allow this girl to keep her tickets it is the wrong message.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the title of the Army Times story: Girl wins tickets by fibbing dad died in Iraq

That sort of deception is not a fib. It’s a lie.

UPDATE 2: They took the tickets. It sure looks the mom is to blame for all this.


  1. It all depends on the kind of essay contest it was. When a Pulitzer Prize winner turns out to have faked the winning journalism, it should be withdrawn, but a literary prize that allows fiction shouldn’t be withdrawn from a novel just because it was written as a first person true story but was actually fiction (if the judges awarded the prize because they thought it was true, they were flouting the terms of the prize). So, what kind of contest was it?

  2. P.M.Lawrence: You’re right that we don’t know the exact rules of the contest and I don’t know if the ‘sympathy factor’ was a factor in her winning. So I will back off a bit and agree that the essay may not have violated the letter of the rules and that accusations of ‘lying’ may not be correct. All that said, a ‘My daddy died this year in Iraq‘ essay that isn’t true and isn’t marked as ‘this is a work of fiction’ is in poor taste. Other news reports say that the mom initially said that the essay was true and gave a name, a date, and cause of death (roadside bomb) to contest officials, and only later admitted that the story was false. So while ‘take away the little girl’s concert tickets’ may not be legally the correct course of action, it’s tough to defend the methods (apparently) used by the mom. She flat out said ‘We did the essay, and that’s what we did to win. We did whatever we could do to win.’ It doesn’t appear to have been artistic and literary style, it appears to have been a mom taking advantage of a six-year-old’s presumed innocence to win a contest. What if someone wrote an essay ‘My daddy died in the World Trade Center on 9/11’ and the mom told people who he was, what floor he worked on, and which company employed him? Except that none of it was true? We don’t even know what the real status of the girl’s father (not that it’s any of our business, really) is. Now this mom’s ‘creative license’ makes it an issue. Whatever happens, this little girl is going to be worse off for it. The tickets have been taken.

  3. Per the article you linked to, ‘With this decision, we hope to revive the intended spirit of the contest, which was designed to make a little girl’s holidays extra special,’ Club Libby Lu chief executive Mary Drolet said in a statement Saturday.’ The intent was to make a little girl’s holiday extra special? I guess they did that … then squashed it for her. At least some other girl now gets to be happy, right? I agree with P.M. Lawrence’s comment above. If the rules did not say it had to be a non-fiction essay, there was no wrong doing. We need to understand the rules that were given for the essay. Was it bad taste, yes. But is it not bad taste that fans are having to pay thousands of dollars to see this show because the brokerage houses are hording all the tickets and reselling them at high prices? If this is what a parent felt they had to do to win, I cannot fault her for it. People will always go to extremes for their kids. This was a very distasteful way to go about it, but hey, she was trying to make her kid’s holiday grand. It’s sad to see that something meant to be fun and enjoyable for kids, such as this concert, is such a non-fun and harsh event. Guess the daughter gets a look at the realities of life ata very young age. I hope that the fan club and/or the company sponsoring the essay contest is ready for a law suit as you know it is coming. That is the American way afterall. What is this country coming to? And then we wonder why the there are groups of people out there who want to kill us and despise our country. Even if the mother was wrong in doing what she did, the girl should not be punished. It’s not like she would know better anyway. Tar and feather the mom if you want, but give the kid the damn tickets. It wouldn’t surprise me if the next person who got them sells them off for the cash anyway. Merry Freakin’ Christmas! –J.Dade