HBO Max has confirmed that one of its interns was behind the strange email mistakenly sent out to subscribers on Thursday evening, prompting an outpouring of support on Twitter as users came out to share their own horror stories of workplace screw-ups in solidarity.
The email went viral after confused subscribers first noticed it in their inboxes shortly before 9 p.m. ET and began sharing screenshots online. The subject line read “Integration Test Email #1" and the message contained just a single line of text: “This template is used by integration tests only.”
The bizarre vagueness attached to such a big industry name made the email ripe for internet fame. Memes quickly sprouted. Jokes about “Integration Test” being a new HBO Max series made the rounds. Mostly, though, people were just curious to know what happened, which the company clarified in a tweet about an hour later:
“We mistakenly sent out an empty test email to a portion of our HBO Max mailing list this evening,” HBO Max confirmed on its HBOMaxHelp Twitter account. “We apologize for the inconvenience, and as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we’re helping them through it.”
Blaming the intern only endeared the meme further. The topic started trending on Twitter as thousands of users offered their sympathies and shared their own embarrassing job snafus. Examples included accidentally powering off every device during a laser experiment at MIT, taking Spotify offline around the world, and who could forget that time everyone in Hawaii got an alert about an incoming ballistic missile that turned out to be a false alarm? Even Monica Lewinsky, who became a household name after her internship during Bill Clinton’s tenure in the Oval Office, reached out on Twitter Friday to offer words of encouragement:
“Dear intern, it gets better. ♥️”
Some users went so far as to claim the intern did HBO Max a favor by drumming up a ton of positive social media buzz that wouldn’t have existed if not for their mistake. And I mean, they kinda have a point; it’s been an effective distraction from the technical difficulties some HBO Max users have been reporting in recent weeks.
The overwhelming sentiment on Twitter was clear: Hey, we’ve all been there. We’ve reached out to HBO Max to learn more about the fate of this intern (it would a huge PR blow to fire the internet’s darling of the week after all this!) and will update this blog when we hear back.