Dan Goldstein is an all-too-common name, as more than one New York law firm found out after one Daniel Jennings Goldstein, a lawyer, heckled Ivanka Trump aboard a JetBlue flight to Florida last week.
According to the folks at Shiboleth, a New York based group, their office was inundated with negative and threatening calls and e-mails after their associate Daniel S. Goldstein was confused with the Dan Goldstein of airplane infamy. “We first noticed something was odd on Thursday morning when we began receiving e-mails calling for the firm to terminate our associate Daniel Goldstein,” managing partner Alon Harnoy wrote in a statement sent to the Forward.
He continued, “The e-mails accused him of harassing Ivanka Trump and her child aboard a JetBlue flight to Florida. In large part, the e-mails were crude, vulgar and indecent, and some accosters even adopted a lynch mob mentality - hungrily chasing speedy revenge and some even refusing to concede even after being told on the phone that they had the wrong Dan Goldstein.”
Because American Jews share Eastern European ancestry and their ancestors adopted surnames at roughly the same time, there’s a large number of common surnames in comparison with other groups, while the custom of naming children after relatives reduces the variety of first names. The Forward has documented two other such cases this year. And the Daniel Goldstein of Shiboleth isn’t the only Daniel Goldstein, Esq. who had to append a notice to his firm bio stating that he isn’t the one of JetBlue fame: a Daniel A. had to do the same at Schule, Roth & Zabel.
As it would happen, Shiboleth’s Dan Goldstein — like the other Dan Goldstein — was out of the office, on holiday in Paris, where he was proposing to his partner. The law firm notified him of the events, added extra security at its headquarters and launched a campaign to inform online haters that they had the wrong guy.
The firm said it had some advice for individuals and companies faced with similar problems in the future. “What we have learned, and what we would advise those in future who are misidentified by a faceless mob, is that the key is to respond with speed and integrity, adopting a broad strategy to communicate consistent message points on web (home page, news and attorney bios), Twitter, telephone reception and voicemail,” Harnoy wrote. “Most importantly we strongly advise against doing nothing at all as mob behavior can turn into an avalanche if left unchecked.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.