If you're here and you are new to Jack, please go to Wiki 1, where we have lots of info at the top for new frauen / herren.
Page 7 contains a timeline of events highlighting her curious contradictions, tall tales, and ludicrous lies.
Jack's stories rarely add up and she frequently gives conflicting versions of events. It is also clear from old blog posts in 2012-13 that her situation wasn't quite the way she would portray it in later years. Here are just some of the endless inconsistencies and outright lies that she has come out with over the years.
Jack, and her fans/followers, often say that pointing out inaccuracies/inconsistencies in what she says is "weird", "nitpicking", or a form of bullying. If you follow her blog, social media, or press articles about her, it would be hard not to notice her frequent contradictions. Our aim here is to establish that she has a history of dishonesty and changing her story; this is especially relevant when she claims past or present poverty to ask for money.
See wiki page 1 for Jack's Teemill sales, crowdfunded book, Patreon, and raising money for a legal case against Lee Anderson. See page 3 for the fallout in 2023 after she failed to file a case against Anderson before the deadline.
WARNING: Jack frequently talks about past suicide attempts or alludes to being suicidal, often in graphic detail. She also often discusses other sensitive and triggering topics. Throughout this page we have warned for content in links and use spoiler tags (example), but please be careful when reading.
Working class/poor family
See wiki page 1 for more about Jack's background. Her grandfather owned a property portfolio worth almost £2 million, including a guest house and restaurant. Her father is retired from a senior role in the Fire Service and is now a landlord; he and Jack's mother were foster carers for more than 20 years. The family is known locally as well to do.
Jack first came to public attention in July 2012 when she published a blog post called "Hunger Hurts" about her life in poverty with her then two-year-old son. Subsequently, after being featured in the national press, she became known as a food writer and anti-poverty campaigner. Initially, Jack said she was middle class and her story was a cautionary tale that no one was safe from poverty. She now claims that she has always been poor and working class.
Here are some examples of her conflicting stories about class and alleged childhood poverty:
"When I was a child, I spent my summers at a large and sprawling house in Plymouth, (...) travelling all day in my Mum’s Land Rover Discovery." (Blog post, June 2012)
"A middle class voice with (...) a story of survival" (Song/poem, September 2012. Jack wrote this about herself after being interviewed on local radio about her experience of poverty. This is likely to be how she genuinely saw herself, since at that time, she didn't yet have an audience to play to. She was aged 24 when she wrote this, contrary to her later saying that she first realised her family was working class when she went to grammar school.)
"I've not been brought up on benefits and a tracksuit watching Jeremy Kyle. I'm a middle class, well educated young woman who fell a bit by the wayside. You think it doesn't happen to normal people, and you think we are all scumbags, eating burgers and watching daytime TV. It can happen to anyone." (Speech in the Houses of Parliament and a Guardian article.) Jack later tried to excuse her ignorant use of stereotypes in the article by saying that her words had been manipulated to fit a narrative, and she was young and didn't understand how the media worked. But it was a direct quote from her own speech. By that time, she was 25 (not 23) and was working as a journalist herself.
"Not bad for the working-class girl who won a place at a posh grammar school." (Guardian article, July 2013.) Yes, that's just a month after Jack said in the same paper that she was middle class.
"The rain isn’t miraculously any less wet when you don’t have a coat with a hood, or an umbrella, or three quid for the bus, just because Mummy and Daddy are still married, or you went to a grammar school." (Blog post, August 2013. Warning for graphic discussion of suicide.) Jack wrote this in response to a commentator on the website Left Futures, who had expressed the opinion that Jack presented a "middle class" and even "cosy" image of poverty. Jack did not deny that she was middle class, just said that it didn't make poverty any less gruelling.
"My parents are still together, they’ve always worked, I’ve always worked, I had a decent well-paid job." "There is no simple tale here about a broken home, bad schools, drugs or racial prejudice, no familiarity in her path into poverty. As one of her neighbors in this seaside town in southern England put it, 'She could be anybody’s daughter.'" (The New York Times, January 2014)
"I knew we weren’t well off. In my fifteen year old head, it was a frivolity, a nonsense when we had so many mouths to feed." "(My classmates were) girls with designer clobber (clothes) that were dropped off in convertible Mercedes." (Blog post, April 2014.) In the post, Jack states that her family could not afford ingredients for cookery classes at school, and she could only take part because her teacher kindly bought the ingredients for her. Most schools would certainly have words with a teacher who brought in alcohol for an underage student, even for cooking!
"(Poverty is) not always what you think of from TV shows like Benefits Street or Jeremy Kyle. Nice middle-class people can find themselves homeless through a small series of unfortunate circumstances." (Interview for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, September 2018)
"(...) Endless, bitter online debate about whether I am too working class to be an expert in anything or too middle class to talk about poverty. I straddle a line that seems to make almost everyone uncomfortable – I have known true, desperate, awful hardship and I write books." "We had very little as children." "I suppressed my Essex accent." (Guardian article, May 2019)
"(My grandfather) died relatively young, and his son inherited (his guest house.)" "(My mother) fostered, for years that was UNPAID." "We holidayed in a tiny caravan (...) or all squished in at my Granny's 2 up 2 down in Ireland." "The humiliation of (my father) repeatedly hitchhiking 30 miles to work." "Shared tins of beans for dinner, missed meals, (...) plain pasta with a jar of 9p bolognese sauce thinned with water." "Dad working three jobs at a time when he was in service just to keep a roof over our heads." "A flat so small for 4 of us it now can't be legally let as a dwelling." (Twitter thread, August 2022)
"Class, (Jack) says, has always confused her – it changes, depending on who you mix with. As a child, she didn’t realise her parents were struggling for money much of the time." "I only realised what middle class looked like when I lived with Allegra." (Guardian interview, January 2023.) Jack's ex-partner Allegra McEvedy is a multi-millionaire from generational wealth. She's "middle class" only in the sense that her family isn't aristocracy.
"I grew up under the impression that I lived in a nice, middle-class family. My parents were what my dad openly, now, describes them as the Working Poor but they did their best to ensure that neither me, my brother, or any of the children that they fostered had absolutely any idea about it." "We always had dinner on the table, but my parents didn't always eat with us. We always had clothes, but those clothes came in bin bags from people from the local church." "I went to an all-girls grammar school, and it quickly became apparent that my lifestyle was not the same as my peers." (Greenbelt Festival, August 2023)
Jack's grandfather passed away in November 2012 at the age of 75, as confirmed by his obituary in local press. Prior to this, in 2006, her father gave an interview about foster care. He said that he had been fostering for almost 14 years (so, starting when Jack was 4-5), and owned a 5-bedroom house and big car to accommodate the children. He estimated he had spent almost £100,000 of his own money on the expenses of fostering. Although he and his wife received some payment from the local authorities, it wasn't enough, and he had to make up the shortfall himself. All of this directly contradicts what Jack has said. Furthermore, foster carers are strictly vetted. It would raise serious questions if a couple who could barely afford to feed their own family were allowed to continue taking in vulnerable children.
Jack's parents chose to spend their money on fostering, which is probably why she didn't have holidays abroad and designer clothes as a child. But there is a vast difference between saying that "class depends on context" or that you aren't well off in comparison with a wealthy person, vs the impoverished upbringing Jack describes. It's very telling that when she says she has always been poor, it's normally in context of comparing herself to someone like Allegra or the girls at her school.
Jack's son was born in April 2010. She claims:
Her relationship with her son's father was "a last hurrah" before coming out as gay (Vogue, January 2021)
"Far too many poppy seeds that I thought were Nigella seeds in the curry, and, you know, they made us both feel a little bit weird for a few hours and now I have a 13 year-old." (Greenbelt Festival, August 2023.) Making the bizarre claim that her son was born because poppy seeds had a narcotic effect on her and his father, causing her to somehow forget she was gay. In the same speech she says that she was already openly gay at 15 years of age and as a result was expelled from her church.
She says that when she got pregnant, she had three jobs and an income of almost £40,000 a year, and could afford designer furniture and a three-bedroom apartment. Her main job was as a call handler in the Fire Service. However, she's also claimed she was training as a firefighter (on her blog in October 2015 and in a Twitter thread in April 2022 - Part 1, Part 2, warning for discussion of eating disorders and CSA.) In a blog post about the Grenfell Tower fire (see wiki page 1), Jack deliberately gave the impression she was an experienced firefighter.
To train as a firefighter, she would be required to hold a full driving licence and be able to swim. She's repeatedly said that she has never learned to drive or taken the test (see Misc. section below), and cannot swim. She has shared photos of her in uniform supposedly from her basic training, however the uniform and helmet are visibly poorly-fitting. The photos were likely taken at a Fire Service charity event or taster day, where civilian staff can wear a firefighter's uniform and pose with the fire engines.
Jack's descent into poverty ostensibly began in November 2011 when she left her job in the Fire Service. She's stated (warning - links discuss suicide):
"My choices were: 1. Have a mental breakdown because trying to organise childcare for night shifts 30 miles from your home is bloody impossible." (Comments on a Guardian article, October 2013). Also saying she'd requested many different options such as flexible working, job share, or transferring closer to home, but was refused each time.
"I resigned from a hospital bed at 2 o'clock in the morning. My GP had signed me off sick with stress a fortnight before." "I (...) decided that my health and my son’s welfare came before trying to cling on to a £27,000 salary." (Conservative Party conference speech, October 2013)
"The problem was that no one would look after a child during her night shifts — which were hard to predict, week-to-week. (Her son's) father helped as far as he could but her attempts to negotiate flexible working hours and alternative positions came to nothing." "I woke up in Southend Hospital and thought: that’s enough. This has to stop." (Evening Standard, November 2013.)
"(Jack) wrote her resignation letter from a hospital bed (...) because she didn’t know how to both earn money and raise a child as a single parent." (TheTimes, November 2015)
"Eighteen months later, I resigned from my job from a hospital bed, not coping with the demands of a rolling shift system, 15-hour nights, a baby, and working 30 miles from home." (Vogue, February 2021)
"He'd decided it wasn't in the best interests of the service to rescind my notice (that I had written from an A&E bed with a psychiatrist sitting on the end of it weeks before." (Twitter, February 2021.) In this version Jack appealed her previous resignation with the support of senior colleagues and Occupational Health, but the Fire Service declined and she lost her job.
She's also suggested at different times that she was sacked (again mentioning a senior colleague trying to save her job), or was going to join the RAF. Court documents presented during her libel trial against Katie Hopkins state that Jack applied for the RAF at the same time as her brother, but wasn't accepted.
In December 2011, a few weeks after leaving the Fire Service, Jack invited other parents to a coffee morning at her home. She advertised in a local Facebook group: "cake provided for Mummies and Daddies and lots of toys and CBeebies for kids." Yet, when Jack published "Hunger Hurts" in July 2012, she stated: "First you turn your heating off. That was in December (2011), it went off at the mains." Later, she described Christmas 2011 as follows: "I was alone in a freezing cold flat with no television, no presents and no food in the fridge (...) I had no tree, no decorations (...) I was unemployed, broke, and broken. I hadn’t bought a single present for my one-year-old son and, instead, let him go to his father’s for the day, knowing I could not give him a Christmas myself." (The Mirror, December 2013.)
In response to a blogger asking how Jack could host a coffee morning in December 2011 yet be destitute a couple of weeks later, Jack said she "had been in a well paid job til that point, so wasn't instantly flat broke." She accused the blogger of being "weird" and "creeping" on old posts. If Jack has chosen to share something publicly, on the internet or in print, then she should expect that others may find it and ask questions. Her interview with Simon Hattenstone in January 2023 again referred to this particular contradiction, suggesting that criticising Jack for it is mean-spirited trolling and nitpicking. When she has repeatedly used tales of poverty to build a public platform and make money, it's perfectly fair to question why those stories don't add up.
In 2012, Jack ended up in desperate poverty, was using a food bank, and had no heating or utilities. She's given conflicting stories as to why her parents, who live in the same town, did not help her:
"Her parents dropped off bags of food and clothes, and berated her for not telling them sooner. But with two young adopted children to feed, they could only help so much." (The New York Times, January 2014)
"Too proud to ask her family for help, she turned off the heating, sold her furniture, television, her son's toys, tried to avoid the landlord and queued up for the first time at a food bank." (The Guardian, February 2014)
"I didn't ask for help because I was terrified that in the middle of the night, a social worker would come and take my child away." (Greenbelt Festival, 10:10 in the audio, August 2017.) Having financial help would have made this less, not more, of a risk. If there were any possibility that her son was going to be taken into care, she would have been informed, and social services would first consider if he could live with his father or grandparents. Jack's parents would know this, as they were experienced foster carers.
She has also stated that her son's father didn't support her financially and that she refused to let SB live with him, even temporarily.
"(Her son's) father, who is in a new relationship, does not pay child support despite being in full-time employment. But he looks after his son two nights a week as well as buying him shoes and clothes. Jackie feels her ex does all he can." (The Mirror, December 2012.) For some reason the article referred to her as Jackie. This story doesn't explain why Jack has repeatedly spoken about how her son had to wear hand-me-downs or shoes that were falling apart.
"Why did I not just put (my son) in care and be done with it? What on earth was I thinking, not wanting to be separated from my child?" (Comment on a Guardian article, October 2013.) This was in response to someone asking why her son could not have lived with his father temporarily until Jack's situation improved. Seemingly, she felt he was better off in a home with no food, heating, or utilities.
"After she had her son – his father looks after him two days a week in lieu of maintenance – she hoped the fire service would, as was its policy, give her more flexible hours." (The Guardian, February 2014). That's a strange way to describe a joint custody agreement, which is a separate matter from maintenance.
Despite this, she wrote an article in the Guardian to thank her son's father for being a supportive co-parent. She called him "the most decent man (she's) ever met." That's not how most people would describe a man who seemingly didn't pay her child support, and let his toddler-aged son go without food or heating.
A detailed timeline of the poverty years can be found on wiki page 1. Here are some key events:
March 2012: Jack got a job in a pub, but had trouble with finding childcare and dealing with Job Centre bureaucracy. She began a blog, initially called "Our Southend" and focused on local politics.
July 2012: Jack shared a blog post titled "Hunger Hurts" about the plight she found herself in. She talked about having no heating or utilities, being hounded for rent arrears, and her two-year-old son going hungry. The post went viral and she started getting attention in the press.
August 2012: Jack held an "Open House Sale" (see wiki page 1) in an effort to clear her debts. She sold: "Everything. My sons bed. My own shoes. Almost all of my books, clothes, crockery, the light fittings, everything. And my beautiful, wooden, upright piano." The light fittings weren't hers (she lived in a rented apartment) - we wonder what the landlord had to say about that?
October 2012: Jack was living in Royal Mews, an upscale building in an affluent part of Southend. She had been living here when still in the Fire Service and had stayed after losing her job. She wanted to move house, saying on her blog that she could afford her monthly rent (£725), but it wasn't good value for money. Later in the month she announced she had found a new home which was "cheaper, but nicer" and very close to Royal Mews. While at Royal Mews she had been threatened with eviction from because of rent arrears, but this would now not happen.
November 2012: Jack had been hired as a columnist for two local newspapers. She left her job to become a freelance writer and sell crafts and photography through her business "The Bread and Jam Foundation"
December 2012: In an interview with the Sunday People (now the Mirror), Jack spoke about living in poverty with her son. She stated on her blog that after a year of not having hot water, heating, or enough food, she was no longer in serious hardship: "I may be missing the luxuries of a broadband connection or a TV license, but gone are the bailiffs, and gone is the fear of losing everything. Thanks to stringent budgeting, a £10 a week food shop and an Excel spreadsheet, I’m managing." She stated she spent Christmas with her parents and that she could afford heating and some treats from her fee for the Mirror article.
However, over the years, her account of events has changed considerably from what she documented on her blog at the time.
Jack's not clear on whether she was ever evicted, threatened with eviction, or both:
"Bye bye the Section 21 sword of Domacles (sic) that dangles a permanent threat- courtesy of a certain Letting Agents heavy handed tactics" (Blog post, October 2012)
"I’ve had (...) endless threats of a Section 21 notice to quit from my previous letting agents." (Blog post, December 2012)
"The friend who paid my rent instead of having work done on her house when I was under threat of eviction." (Facebook post, April 2016.) This post, in which Jack spoke about buying a bike for an autistic teenager in order to repay other people's past kindnesses to her, went viral. She has Deleted the original but it's been circulated many times and can still be found on Facebook.
"(In July 2012) I took myself into my bathroom, with my eviction notice from my flat that I was getting kicked out of because I couldn't pay the rent any more." (Greenbelt Festival, 18:13 in the audio, August 2017.) Warning - this part of the speech discusses suicide in detail. By her own previous admission she was threatened with eviction, but not served with notice, and left the property voluntarily in October 2012.
"I was evicted from my flat with a toddler when my Housing Benefit was suspended because I was deemed to have made myself deliberately unemployed by having a baby within the confines of a job whose flexible working patterns were a paper policy rather than a reality." (Blog post, July 2020.) Again, when Jack left the Fire Service in November 2011 she was living at Royal Mews, and stayed there until October 2012 when she left voluntarily.
"I’ve rented 22 properties in my short lifetime, and several of them I was served No-Fault eviction notices – Section 21 notices – for no fault of my own. Some of them just didn’t want a tenant who used benefits." (Evidence given to the Work and Pensions Committee, March 2022)
"I had my housing benefit withdrawn almost a dozen times in 1 year alone (...) ended up being evicted because of it." (Twitter, May 2022)
Similarly, she isn't sure when she first visited a food bank, despite having told the story many times. (Warning - links discuss suicide)
Describing her own story - "you go to queue at the food bank with your son in tow. You can’t cope any longer." "That was February, just gone." (Blog post, August 2013) So, stating the first time she visited a food bank was in February 2013, not 2012.
"I was referred to my local food bank by a Sure Start children’s centre that I attended with my son on a Wednesday, after staff noticed that we always had seconds and thirds of the free lunch. I was reluctant to go at first, reluctant to admit that I had hit rock bottom – but I couldn’t afford not to. So one morning in October 2012, I finally went." (The Mirror, December 2013)
"In July 2012 (...) I picked up my son. We walked to the local food bank." (Greenbelt Festival, 17:47 in the audio, August 2017.) Jack again said she made a failed suicide attempt, telling a completely different story as to what happened and what method she used. Indicating she began using a food bank some time before July 2012. She said that on the day in question, a kind woman working at the food bank had helped Jack and listened to her worries.
"My food writing was an accident, dredged from (...) a scrabbled together soup from a food bank parcel." "That was the 31st of July, 2012. There were 100,000 food bank users in the UK at the time (...) the queue that snaked around the block 100 deep, every day, at the one I went to." (Twitter, April 2022 - Part 1, Part 2.) Repeating the same story from the Greenbelt Festival, and again placing her first use of a food bank before July 2012.
Jack has repeatedly said that while in poverty she could not afford electricity and had to keep her fridge unplugged. In 2012, she stated on her blog:
"I’ve got seven sweet potato beanie bakes in the freezer, and small boy likes them, so I tell myself that we’ll be okay." (May 2012.) At this time, she had lost two jobs in quick succession but was claiming benefits and evidently able to keep the fridge and freezer running.
"(My son)'s been known to help himself to (fromage frais) from the fridge." (December 2012.) She did have work by then, but evidently, her fridge wasn't off for two years.
But since then, her story's changed:
"I think back to this time last year. When you've got to the point where you have unplugged your fridge and you have unscrewed your light bulbs and you have sold everything you own ..." (The Guardian, July 2013)
"I didn't mind putting an extra jumper on if I had food in the fridge. It was the point where I had an extra jumper on and no food in the fridge that I realised things had gone badly wrong." (The Guardian, October 2013)
"I don't imagine the chief executives of any of the big six (energy companies) called before MPs on Tuesday has ever had to unplug their fridge because they simply can't afford to run it." (The Guardian, October 2013.) She can't even be consistent in the same paper within the same month!
"I unplugged my fridge and put furniture in front of the storage heaters so that I wasn't even tempted to turn them on." (Huffington Post, November 2017.)
"My worst year, I didn’t have a tree, didn’t have any decorations, I couldn’t buy any presents, I had unplugged the fridge, turned the heating off, taken out the light bulbs." (The Independent, December 2017.) She's ostensibly referring to December 2011 - just a couple of weeks after she was hosting a coffee morning at home.
"I lived with (...) no fridge for TWO YEARS." (Twitter, December 2019)
"When I was in a similar situation, I unplugged my fridge and freezer because I couldn’t afford to run them." (Grazia, September 2020)
"I unscrewed the lightbulbs, unplugged the empty fridge, sold my son’s shoes and drank his formula milk." (PoliticsHome, February 2021)
Even if she did turn her fridge off at some point, it evidently wasn't for long, and certainly not for as much as two years. Especially since in 2012 she often posted recipes using perishable food that needs to be kept in a fridge.
January 2013: Jack told her local paper that her £10 a week food budget was enough to feed her and her son comfortably and even have friends over for dinner regularly.
Shortly after writing in her column that she was online dating, Jack began a relationship with a police officer who owned a home; Jack moved in later in the year. So, for most of 2013 (until they broke up in October), she had the support of a financially stable partner.
March 2013: The Telegraph sent writer Xanthe Clay over to interview Jack and have lunch with her. The article, "My 49p lunch with a girl called Jack", brought her to national attention and she credits it for kick-starting her career in the media and being offered her book deal.
Jack took part in a sponsored event for charity to sleep outside in aid of homeless people. On her blog and in a promotional video for the charity, she said she had never been homeless, but realised that she was lucky not to have ended up on the streets.
She again took part in "Live Below the Line". She repeated this in 2014, and 2015, and shared photos of her meals and food shopping throughout the challenge. Each time, she said she found it difficult and that even though she was poor, she didn't normally live like this. Live Below the Line lasts five days, and Jack stated she had £10 a week for food, so she was living on half her usual budget.
She announced that, due to public cuts reducing her benefits, she and her son were moving into a house share. Subsequently she shared a blog post showing furniture that her friends and family had donated for her new home, including from her aunt Helen and her grandfather. She probably had these things before the big sale in August - at that time, Helen had recently passed away, and her grandfather was very ill in hospital before also passing. So Jack didn't quite have to sell everything. What about the other items in the photos?
July 2013: A year after she wrote "Hunger Hurts", Jack gave an update on her blog. She said that in the last year her situation had improved and she was now in work. She stated that she still lived on £10 a week for food, and that she had spent Christmas 2011 sitting alone in the dark with no heating or lights.
She told the Guardian that she was almost evicted earlier in the year because her benefits were suspended after her book advance came through, but ultimately she remained in her home.
October 2013: Jack's relationship with her fiancée ended.
December 2013: Jack appeared in a Sainsbury's ad campaign for Christmas but was criticised for "selling out." She claimed she had only paid herself the living wage for the campaign, and had donated the rest of the money to Oxfam and her local food bank.
Jack wrote a blog post saying that she was grateful to no longer be in poverty, and could afford a Christmas tree, food, and presents for her son. (Warning - link discusses suicide.) In the Mirror, she repeated the story that she spent Christmas 2011 alone in her dark, freezing flat with no food or utilities.
For New Year's Eve, she shared a blog post about her success in 2013 including writing and media work, audiences with politicians, her book deal, and the Fortnum & Mason award.
By all appearances, Jack still had some financial troubles in 2013, but the worst was over. Her financial situation improved and she became increasingly successful. Yet, in retrospect, she's since described 2013 as a year when she was still desperately poor.
"The past few Christmases had been all over the place for my little family, and 2013 was the first year I felt able to establish my own small traditions (...) although I didn’t have a tree." (The Guardian, December 2014.) She did have a Christmas tree in 2013 and had shared pictures on her blog!
"(I was in) prostitution and stealing food to survive, 2013 (...) Evicted from my flat with my three-year-old." (Twitter, December 2019. Warning - link discusses suicide.) Her son was three in March 2013 so she would have had to be evicted at some point between then and March 2014.
"I've been homeless, lived in dogshit poverty." (Facebook, March 2021.) Suggesting this was at some point between March 2013 when she said she'd never been homeless, and early 2014 when she moved in with Allegra McEvedy.
"Another variation on rice with mixed frozen veg, 2013. That measly bowl was lunch and dinner." (Blog, July 2020. Warning - link discusses suicide.) She shared photos of what were supposedly her everyday meals when she was poor, such as plain toast and water or a small bowl of plain rice with vegetables. All these photos were taken while she was doing "Live Below the Line" and living on an amount equivalent to extreme poverty for five days. It wasn't representative of her daily life. See wiki page 6 for links to her now-Deleted blog posts where the photos originally appeared.
In January 2014, Jack was hired by Oxfam to travel to Tanzania as a guest blogger and write about community projects that Oxfam funds there. Her blogs reflected a stereotypical and rather patronising view of Tanzania and its people, and she publicly equated her own poverty with the situation of people in poor parts of Africa who may not even have safe drinking water.
In the same month she announced she had moved into a new home. She said that after breaking up with her partner, she and her son had stayed in a friend's property temporarily, but she had now found a home and planned to stay there and give him some stability. She stated that after leaving Royal Mews, she'd moved into a cheaper flat that was "a bit mouldy round the edges with a few alarming cracks in walls and ceilings" and on the other side of town. Back when she moved there in 2012, she had said it was "cheaper, but nicer" than Royal Mews and still very close by. See 2012 section.
Shortly afterwards, in February-March, Jack began a relationship with the very wealthy restaurant founder Allegra McEvedy. She relocated to London with her son and moved in with Allegra. According to an interview they gave in Diva magazine the following year, Jack moved in less than a week into the relationship, and lost the deposit she had just paid for her new home - despite having said she needed a guarantor because she'd failed credit checks! Jack and Allegra got engaged at some point during the year.
Throughout 2014, Jack continued to get writing and media work, and published her second book A Year in 120 Recipes. But in November, she was criticised over a Tweet stating that then-Prime Minister David Cameron "uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends." (Cameron had a severely disabled son who passed away at six years of age.) It was subsequently reported that Sainsbury's had terminated their contract with her. She denied this and maintained that she was only ever contracted for six weeks' work in 2013.
In May 2015, Jack told the Evening Standard that she had recently lost her column with the Guardian and suggested this was because of criticism from readers. She stated she had received death threats and carried a knife - why would you publicly admit to carrying an illegal weapon? This didn't stop her arguing with others in comments on the Guardian website, including saying that Allegra was not a millionaire and did not own a restaurant. Allegra has a net worth in the multi-millions and it was on public record that she did own a restaurant in London.
Around May or June, Jack and Allegra ended their relationship and Jack returned to Southend. She may or may not have been in financial hardship after this:
"Money, these days, is tight again," "I had to borrow money from a friend this month for my rent," "One of the reasons I moved back was to (...) cut my outgoings. To have a bit of financial security," "Everything I own is pretty much in this room." (The Times, November 2015)
"Finally, finally, the last box out of 3 luton vans and 7 estate cars is unpacked from a moving operation that started in June." (Instagram, January 2016)
"She loved living in London but (...) seems to have had a growing sense of unease about it." (The Guardian, July 2016). Jack suggested she could have remained in London (i.e. could have afforded it), but chose to return to Southend because Allegra's friends made her feel unwelcome and she did not quite fit in.
Jack came out as non-binary via her blog in October 2015. She announced she used they/them pronouns and the title Mx (she now mostly uses she/her.) Jack stated she wore a binder and wanted to use hormones and have top surgery, and one of her past relationships had ended because her then-fiancée (suggested to be the police officer) didn't like the idea of her transitioning.
In December 2015, Jack had opened a Kickstarter to self-publish her third book Cooking on a Bootstrap. Her initial target was £8000 but she ultimately raised almost £70,000. Many people also paid to buy an extra copy, supposedly to be donated to a food bank or school. It was announced in February 2016 that Bluebird had bought the rights to publish the book, but the Kickstarter continued and Jack initially promised an April 2016 release date. This was repeatedly delayed, with Jack giving various excuses such as illness, logistical problems, and being busy with childcare. At one point she said she was "writing in a freezing cold flat without even a sodding table to sit at" - as if nothing had changed after several years of having a successful career in the media.
Jack's backers became more and more frustrated, and when they started asking for refunds or even where the money had gone to, she either didn't answer or snapped at them. After one person speculated as to whether she had bought a house with the money, she threatened to sue and suggested that she was being terrorised by stalking and domestic abuse behind the scenes. She also said she had taken no money for herself at all as she was paying a team of artists and an admin assistant in addition to the costs of postage and printing. The book did not materialise until published by Bluebird in spring 2018. A few months later, some backers received their self-published copies in black and white and with no illustrations - by this time, the published, illustrtated, full-colour edition was in print and widely available. Others never received a copy at all.
For the full saga, and how Jack responded to the people who donated money, see the Kickstarter here.
Jack was given a column for Diva magazine where she wrote about her experiences as a trans/non-binary parent. Columns can be seen here. Notably, at one point she claimed that her son had an hour's train ride each way to school and back, implying (without outright stating) that they had to do this every day from her home. He was actually living with his father in a nearby town and going to school there - as was apparent from the father's public social media account. Despite this, Jack continued to insist she was the main custodial parent, was busy with full time childcare, and needed money to provide for him.
Abuse and sex work disclosures
In June 2016, Jack was interviewed for a Buzzfeed article about domestic abuse in LGBT relationships. She was pseudonymously referred to as "Sam", but later confirmed to Pink News that she was the person being referred to. In the interview, Jack described her experience of living with a violent girlfriend whilst pregnant. The article stated: "Some deemed her not a 'real' lesbian because of the Pregnancy. They did not know that Sam had previously, briefly, worked as a prostitute to try and survive financially." This suggests Jack's son was born as a result of sex work, evidently not true. He was born in April 2010, so that would mean she was poor when he was conceived in 2009 - at a time she says she had three jobs and earned almost £40,000 a year.
This is one of many conflicting stories Jack has given about doing sex work and when:
In 2009, leading to her son's conception (Buzzfeed article, June 2016)
"Former prostitute (...) former SW (...) bona fide whore." (Twitter, April 2017.) She didn't say when she supposedly did sex work.
"(I was in) prostitution and stealing food to survive, 2013." (Twitter, December 2019)
"I worked in (a brothel.)" (Twitter, July 2022) - again doesn't mention when
"I went on to work briefly in the s*x industry" (Twitter, August 2022). Indicating this was in her late teens/early 20s before she joined the Fire Service or had her son.
Heather and Jack
Jack announced that she and a friend had set up a shop called Heather and Jack to sell their artwork and photos. She referenced giving up photography when she was poor and had to sell her camera - even though she evidently had one in November 2012, when she became self-employed selling photography. Heather and Jack held a sale to raise money for the families of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting but Jack did not show proof of donation or reveal how much was raised. As of 2023 the store is still up, including a print in aid of the charity Broken Rainbow which closed in 2017.
Jack has released seven books and has a popular website with adverts, many commissions, paid-for public events, and generally a successful career; but claims to only pay herself the living wage and talks about financial struggles.
In 2018, Jack won a libel case against Katie Hopkins - see wiki page 1. After the trial concluded, she shared a blog post stating that she had been unable to work for 20 months while the case went on. How, then, was she working 80-hour weeks the previous year and still writing professionally? She said that most of the £24,000 settlement she received from the case was spent on necessary home improvements and repaying friends who had lent her money. As a result of being unable to work, Jack had fallen behind on energy payments and they sent bailiffs to force the locks when she was not at home. She now no longer felt safe in her house and was preparing to move. In England and Wales, bailiffs may get a locksmith to open the door if someone owes tax or court debts, or breaks the terms of a repayment order. They can't do this for a debt on energy bills.
Jack further alleged that she had made no money from her first two books because her agent withheld the royalties from her - she estimated this to be as much as £50,000. She said that for legal reasons she could not name anyone, but that she was preparing a legal case against the offender. The blog post finished with a request for donations for Jack's legal case and expenses in moving house.
Her agent at the start of her career was Adrian Sington, then the CEO of DCD Publishing. She publicly thanked him many times, and said that they had an excellent working relationship. But by 2016, she had moved to United Agents. In 2020 she said: "I have a new agent now, who fought a lengthy and frustrating battle to get some of (the royalties) back to me," stating that the previous agent (DCD) had "stonewalled" her and denied she was ever on their books. In December 2022, Jack left United and went back to Adrian, who now works at Kruger Cowne. Why would she go back to an agent that she could not trust to pay her? At the 2023 Greenbelt Festival, while still represented by Adrian, she repeated the story that "my former agent did a runner with the royalties." See here for a transcript.
Louisa Compton relationship
In 2017, Jack began dating Louisa Compton, who at that time was a senior editor at the BBC. She is now the Head of News at Channel 4 and estimated to earn around £250,000 a year; when she was with Jack she still would have earned well over six figures. Jack said in a blog post in February 2018 that a lot of people cannot afford to have a cooker, saying, "My partner has not had a working cooker for two and a half years." That's disingenuous when Louisa is wealthy and could certainly afford a cooker if she wanted one.
While living with Louisa, Jack continued to plead poverty and ask for donations. She said that they shared the cost of rent, bills, and major purchases equally; indicating she could afford her half. But she still claimed to be living on a budget of just £20 a week for food for three people (apparently Louisa did not contribute money for food), and asked her followers to donate so she could pay for necessities.
Jack's relationship with Louisa ended in spring 2020. Louisa briefly returned in 2021 as a housemate/ "bubble buddy" during COVID restrictions, but then moved out again. In 2022 Jack told a follower that she was tied into a rental contract she'd shared with Louisa and had a year left to go. Jack had tried and failed to get out of the contract and couldn't take in a lodger. This left her solely liable for the rent, bills, and council tax; which took up 94% of her monthly wage. She was now solely liable and 94% of her monthly wage went on the rent, council tax, and bills. This would mean the contract was at least three years long with no break clause! Such a contract would likely not be legally enforceable, and if Louisa's name were on the tenancy with Jack, she'd continue to be liable unless Jack signed a new contract just for herself. Jack could have got free advice from her local council, Citizen's Advice Bureau, or Shelter ... or she could have made up the whole story.
Jack frequently talks about how she needs to provide for her son and wants enough money to buy a "forever home" for him because they've moved around so many times. But over the years there has been evidence that he was either living with his father or spending equal time with both parents, despite Jack saying he has always lived with her. An example of this is when she wrote in one of her Diva columns that her son had an hour's train ride each way to school and back, implying (without outright stating) that they had to do this every day from her home. SB was living with his father in a nearby town and going to school there - as was apparent from the father's public social media account. Jack would only have had to travel to SB's school once or twice a week, and it was much less than an hour away. More recently in 2022-23 she made references to SB stopping by on her birthday or coming to stay at half term, suggesting he is with his dad the rest of the time.
Jack criticisedAlfie Deyes for "poverty tourism", referring to the fact that he can afford to shop at Waitrose. But on multiple occasions she has tried to pass off Waitrose food as her own cooking (see "Fake recipes" on wiki page 2), even when she said she was living on a strict food budget of just £20 a week. We believe a Twitter user who regularly displayed Waitrose deliveries was an alt account of Jack - see wiki page 1 (@Peeky_Mink).
She got an imported SMEG fridge, costing around £2500, shortly after saying she was short of cash and planned to buy a 130v fridge as this would make considerable savings on her energy bills.
She tweeted about how "her budget didn't stretch to butter" and she was having to use mayonnaise as a substitute. She could clearly afford to buy butter, as it could be seen in photos of her kitchen. When this was pointed out on Tattle, and by Twitter users, Jack made a sarcastic comment about "detractors" not wanting her to buy butter. No one cares if she does; we just don't like her twisting words to pretend she's struggling and elicit sympathy/donations.
In her infamous blog post The Curse Of The Poverty Hangover, Ten Years On Jack announced she was poor again and was back to pawning her belongings and renting a small one-bedroom home. She claimed she could not afford to buy shampoo or shower gel, or use electric lighting, and had to resort to using solar lights meant for the garden. This was despite her having had a number of corporate sponsorships in the last year - including Superdrug, who were paying her to promote budget toiletries. In the months before the blog post, she had been seen to get lip fillers, a new tattoo, and an expensive pedigree dog. Until June she had been with a partner who was evidently well off, as he had (or so she said) bought her designer jewellery and several trips away. Jack again tried to excuse this in the Hattenstone article, saying she "had nothing" when she wrote the blog post, but was now solvent again after signing a book deal.
At the 2023 Edinburgh Festival, Jack said that she only gets £5000 for each book advance. She claimed she has been offered more, but won't accept it because she would have to repay the publisher if she failed to out-earn her advance, and could get into debt. This is false; the only reason why an author would ever have to repay their advance is if they fail to deliver the book. Jack knows this after a decade of publishing books! Her advance for her first book was £25,000 and by her own logic, she'd have to get a lot more than £5k to be back on her feet after being so poor in July 2022 that she couldn't afford shower gel or lightbulbs.
Lies about her spending
Jack owns a huge amount of stuff, see here for examples of photos that show that her house is very cluttered. Wiki page 2 contains a detailed list of verifiable items she has displayed on her social media. Jack will often justify having so many possessions by saying that they were gifts, handed down from friends/family, or bought from charity shops for very little money. Even with that, it's still apparent she buys a lot of stuff she does not need.
Shortly after she and Louisa moved in together, Jack began throwing things out into a skip - did she need to make some room for Louisa's belongings as well as hers? In June 2022 (the month before she shared "Hunger Hurts 2", claiming to be poor again) she indicated her partner was concerned about how full the house was, and that she subsequently tried to organise everything but struggled as she had so much stuff. See here and here for more on that.
Here are some examples of her telling tall tales or outright lies about where her possessions came from/how much they cost:
After spending over £100 on battered old cutlery in January 2022 on eBay and claiming some of it was included by the seller for free, which the eBay listing disproved, Jack gave her grifting tin a rattle within the same week, saying she needed money to fix her website.
In the Hattenstone interview (January 2023 - see above) Jack explained owning a lot of designer furniture by saying that when she was an alcoholic, she had a habit of buying furniture in drunken online shopping binges. She said she would send most of the furniture back when she sobered up, and she and Louisa would share the cost of whatever they decided to keep. She told a similar story when a follower asked about one of her Cotswold sideboards; saying that she'd bought it in a sale and convinced Louisa to pay for half. However, Jack shared photos that showed Cotswold furniture in her house before she moved in with Louisa; and posted about getting another sideboard delivered after they broke up.
Her son had a Squid Game-themed Halloween costume including a Dickies boiler suit, which she said was from an Army & Navy Store. These suits are around £35-£50 new and are not often stocked in an Army & Navy Store, where there would be far cheaper options available.
Her new SMEG fridge was supposedly secondhand and given to her by a friend, it had just been in her garage until now.
She displayed a neon sign in her house that would (depending on where she got it) have cost between £150-£300. She said it was a gift and she didn't know it had arrived until her AA sponsor found it in her shed weeks later, by which time "the paperwork was eaten by mice" so she has no idea where it came from.
Numerous items she claims to have found in charity shops including a Magimix and new Le Creuset
She showed off a number of shirts she'd bought from a "vintage thrift store" - suggesting the store is a charity shop and the shirts cost very little. In fact the store is a regular vintage clothing shop, sells clothes at a markup, and prices can be high.
In April 2017 she posted photos of herself in a dress seemingly from Needle & Thread or a similar brand. She said it was a present from a long-term reader of her blog. Jack has stated many times on the blog that she rarely wears dresses or goes to formal events, so it seems strange that a fan would choose this for her and know her exact size and unexpectedly buy her an expensive gift. At the time Jack had recently started dating Louisa, and Tattlers suspect she bought the dress to hint to Louisa that she wanted to get married.
In one of the many tweets sent around the time of her viral Twitter thread in January 2022, Jack claimed to have never bought a new TV. This is in direct contradiction to a previous Twitter rant in which she alleged a delivery driver had left her new TV on the doorstep.
The issue here isn't "Jack is allowed to have nice things!" It's that she asks for donations, says she can't afford necessities, and preaches about poverty and wealth inequality - all while her obvious, conspicuous spending can be seen on her social media.
On 19th Jan 2022, Jack tweeted that Asda had removed certain Smart Price items from her local branch in Shoebury. She claimed products such as 45p rice, 20p pasta and 22p beans weren’t available any more. A local Tattler went to check and these items were still on the shelves and in good stock. Photos of items in Shoebury Asda
Jack repeatedly claimed to have invented Healthy Start vouchers, a lie that has been repeated by her ex-partner Louisa Compton, who is Head of Channel 4 News. However, the Healthy Start voucher scheme started in 2005 (p.11 of this review of the scheme from 2013). This means Jack was 17 when she invented and immediately implemented the scheme.
Attendees at Jack's talk at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival have alleged she said that the reason she had failed to produce the Vimes Boots Index was that major supermarkets were lowering their prices to stop her publishing it. If she said this, she'd effectively be accusing them of fixing prices, and could be taken to court.
Jack regularly claims that she has been doxxed on Tattle, however, while many Tattlers have easily managed to find her house due to the many photos and bits of information she puts on her public social media channels, no one has ever put her address out publicly on this forum.
She says she is constantly discriminated against and ridiculed because she is a single mother. Saying her own brother rejected her over it, and she has often been verbally abused by strangers telling her to "shut her legs" or similar. She describes her son as "born out of wedlock" as if this is something shocking or unusual. But when criticised by right-wing press falsely suggesting her son's father isn't involved in his life, Jack has said each time that co-parenting families are now commonplace and no one else seems to have a problem with it.
She legally changed her name to Jack Monroe and has threatened to sue people for saying it isn't her "real" name, also accusing them of deadnaming. (When Jack came out as non-binary she said her former name was her deadname, however in more recent years has said she likes it and has considered reverting to it or releasing books in that name.) But she made fun of David Walliams for changing his name; suggested it was dishonest of him; and used his birth name on Twitter.
(warning: link contains descriptions of homophobic violence and uncensored slurs) Jack says she is so feminine and pretty that others can't believe she is a lesbian, and she has had to take a male friend to weddings as her date so that she wouldn't "upstage the bride." But also that she looks so masculine she was punched by a skinhead who thought she was a gay man, gets asked to leave the women's toilets, and gay men often flirt with her. (She made the latter comments in a Mumsnet Q&A. Tattle doesn't allow linking to Mumsnet, but the thread in question, titled "I'm Jack Monroe. Ask me anything" can be found through Google.)
In January 2013 she said in her column in the local newspaper that she had received a number of death threats from the far right over an article she wrote the previous April. In April 2012 she was unknown and was working in a pub. Presumably she meant blog post not published article, but then why did she only start getting threats nine months later? The Telegraph repeated this claim seemingly without fact-checking it.
Jack has said on several occasions that Essex Police actively monitor her social media for threats to her safety, and that on their advice she takes a bodyguard to all public events. Thus far no bodyguard has ever been seen. In response to a Freedom of Information request, Essex Police stated that they do not monitor anyone's social media.
There are at least three different accounts of how Jack's drinking problem started. In one version she began drinking at age 14-15 to cope with her crippling shyness at parties. In another, her drinking started when she worked at a cocktail bar in her late teens and she was "mine-sweeping the bar." Anyone who's worked in a bar/pub would know why no one wants to "mine-sweep the bar!" Both these stories appeared in the Guardian along with a third article in which she said she didn't drink whilst working at the cocktail bar. She can't even keep track of what she's told the same newspaper.
In yet another account of how her alcoholism began, she said she started drinking cheap lager when she was poor, and "never quite stopped." But in December 2012, Jack was interviewed in the Mirror and said that she could not afford to drink. In 2019 she told the Guardian she wanted to make it "absolutely clear" that she did not drink when she was poor.
In 2016-17 Jack wavered between saying she was Sober or was drinking but had it under control, see this on-off sobriety timeline and wiki page 5.
In October 2020 Jack said in a Twitter thread that she was "22 months sober" and dealing with the urge to drink by learning the piano. This doesn't fit with her later telling Diva magazine that she had started drinking again after her disastrous DKL appearance (so, April/May 2020) and entered a treatment programme in spring 2021. She appears to have indeed been in treatment, as she disappeared from social media for a while then shared photos of what looked like a residential facility.
She said in the 2023 Hattenstone interview that she had been addicted to Tramadol as well as alcohol, and at the worst of her addiction consumed 40 Tramadol a day along with a bottle and a half of whiskey, saying "How I’m not dead is beyond me." It's beyond everyone else too. She says she never took any illegal drugs, however a doctor wouldn't prescribe enough Tramadol for a 40-a-day habit so if she took that many then she was not getting them legally.
In February 2023 Jack argued on Twitter with someone who suggested she used cocaine. She said she had never used it, but then shared a photo of various chips she had acquired from sobriety organisations - one of which was from Cocaine Anonymous! Other Twitter users identified some of the chips as being from the 1990s-2000s, so Jack had evidently bought them online.
Jack's stories of alcohol/substance abuse also cast doubt on her saying that she has always been her son's main custodial parent (she hasn't - see above.) Others clearly knew about her addiction, as she has said that it affected her friends and family, her son saw her pass out drunk, and Louisa would often have to leave work or social events when Jack had been drinking. It's hard to believe no one would raise the alarm if she were bingeing on whiskey and Tramadol every day with her son at home. Jack has complained (see wiki page 2) that "trolls" had made false complaints about her to social services, but it seems the people who know her had more than enough reason to report her. She had also posted about her addiction on her public Twitter account where anyone, such as neighbours or her son's teachers, could see.
Other health issues
Jack claims to have rheumatoid arthritis that is so bad (especially "right foot, hand, knee and hip") it leaves her regularly requiring a walking stick. On International Women's Day 2020 she posted a picture of herself delivering a complete speech standing on tiptoes, stating she always delivers speeches this way and has done for years. Apparently as she can stand like this for 12 minutes (and therefore knows when to start finishing up), due to her previous ballet training.
In 2015, Jack claimed she had recently had three suspected minor heart attacks in a short period of time, and had now signed up to run a marathon. This is obviously implausible and the cookery writer we call TD (Trifle Defender) called out Jack in comments.
In her Mumsnet Q&A (again can be found through Google), Jack spoke about her trans/non-binary identity. Gender critical posters accused her of perpetuating the idea that anyone who doesn't conform to strict gender roles must be trans. She then heavily hinted she was actually intersex, saying she was "female enough to carry a child, male enough to have intimate physical abnormalities and an alarmingly high amount of testosterone." She has never mentioned this again before or since.
Her explanations as to why she left school at the age of 16:
She was expelled from school for stealing a scalpel (September 2021). A poster who claimed to be an old classmate, and seems credible as they had to speak to mods about it, said shortly after this that Jack was never expelled.
Jack says her son's privacy is paramount, and this is why she no longer shares photos of him or features him in press interviews. But she posts so much personal information that someone would be able to find him offline. She also continues to tweet about things he probably doesn't want the world to know, such as health issues he is having.
Jack had a pop at Jamie Oliver for using capers as apparently they're too specialist, then the following week published a column in the Metro featuring a recipe that included capers. The following week she posted a recipe on her blog that used lime pickle.
Driving/owning a car:
July 2012: Jack wrote that she had chosen not to drive. She said she had taken driving lessons and briefly owned a car before she was poor, but got "bored" so she sold the car and never took her test.
October 2012: Jack mentioned in a blog post that she was looking for a new home and wanted/needed parking.
December 2012: Jack told the Mirror she had to sell her car when she became poor.
November 2013: Jack again said that she sold her car when she was poor, indicating this was before August 2012 (when she sold most of her possessions) - she held the sale at home since she had no car and couldn't go to a car boot sale.
November 2019: Jack said in an interview that she has never been able to drive because her autism causes difficulties with spatial awareness.
July 2022: Jack stated in Hunger Hurts 2 that she was desperately looking for a job and had recently applied for work as a train driver. This would be difficult to say the least if she cannot even drive a car!
In her column for Diva magazine, Jack complained that her family didn't respect her non-binary identity and refused to use her chosen name and they/them pronouns. Around the time she came out, her father used his public social media to request donations to Mermaids (a charity for transgender children) for his birthday, and others in the family expressed support. They didn't seem to have an issue with trans and non-binary people.
Jack claimed that a friend had pawned her engagement rings (all from relationships that ended before marriage.) In England and Wales you cannot legally pawn something on someone else's behalf, and ID checks are required - since it's effectively a loan. It would also be a waste to pawn rings you don't want back when you would get more money for selling them. Some pawnbrokers offer "cash for jewellery" services, so she may have meant that. But why double down on saying they were pawned?