Warning: Some readers may find this content upsetting 

When Emma Jones decided to set up a business with her sister in 2013, Solid8 felt like the perfect name.

To them, the name represented the two siblings coming together to consolidate their skills in marketing and sales.

So Solid8 Consultancy Ltd was born and it has since been operating out of Worting House, with a small team of employees. 

Little did they know that seven years later, this name would plunge family-run firm into the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons. 

By now, you may have seen the viral footage of Michael Lofthouse, chief executive of San Francisco company Solid8, launching a racist tirade of abuse towards an Asian family who were celebrating the 4th of July at a hotel in California.

Lofthouse’s firm has no association with Emma’s Basingstoke company but that hasn't stopped thousands on the internet for attacking the wrong company.

The clip of Lofthouse blew up and was viewed millions of times on Twitter before the story was picked up by Fox News, ABC and The Daily Mail.

Read more: Basingstoke family firm under fire after being wrongly linked to 'racist' CEO 

Lofthouse has since resigned after issuing an apology about his behaviour.

But this has come as little help to Emma, whose firm became the source of an internet pile-on with social media users urging one another to contact their firm.

Over the past week, Emma has received thousands of abusive and threatening emails, calls and texts from all corners of the globe. 

Romsey Advertiser:

Speaking to The Gazette, Emma has described what it has been like being in the eye of an internet storm and seeing the business she's grown come under attack.

“It has been horrific. We’ve been taking hundreds of calls, we’ve been answering them because we really want to get across that we’ve had nothing to do with this. We are a totally different companies.

“But people don’t want to listen. I’ve received so many phone calls people shouting, screaming profanities while I’ve been called every name under the sun.

“Someone told me they hoped I'd get face cancer and my face would fall off. Another person said they hoped I’d get corona so I’ve get a tube shoved down my throat. It has been upsetting. The worst threats were about the kids."

The abuse started flooding in last Monday evening and it was picked up the next day.

“My first knee-jerk reaction was to put something out there to say this had nothing to do with us,” Emma said.

But despite issuing a statement, the calls and texts continued.

Emma said furious internet users had tracked down her personal email address and telephone number. 

Romsey Advertiser: Emma and her partner Josh, a director at the firm, were due to get married in MayEmma and her partner Josh, a director at the firm, were due to get married in May

Emma said: “Our website usually has only one or two visitors a week because we are such a small business who caters for clients who prefer to stay in the shadows. We’re not used to this level of exposure.”

Emails seen by The Gazette show the level of fury directed at Emma, who has been running the business solo after her sister left the firm in 2017.

One email reads: "**** you, racist ***. We found you info now, Twitter will do its thing and make your life hell."

Another says: "Racist losers, hope you go bankrupt soon and that your staff and families get cancer and die. That's what you all deserve." 

And one of the more severe threats reads: "You are a ***** piece of human garbage. You're not even American. Get the *** out of my country now. 

"We don't need human garbage like you and your ****** piece of **** company will need to go back to your ******** country in Britain.

"Go **** yourselves and go **** your sisters and your mothers and your little children. You white ****** ****." 

"*** you and *** your family. I will come and ****** kill your children and rape your wife. Go back to Europe and **** off. You don't deserve to be here. 

"Your name will forever be famous on the internet. Congratulations." 

While Emma accepts these vicious emails have nothing to do with her firm, she said it is hard not to take it personally. 

She said: “What’s really upsetting is this isn’t something we want to be known for. We want our company to be known for our good services and strong work ethic.

“Although we know it’s not necessarily aimed at us, when people have found your own personal email address and mobile number and are addressing you personally, it is hard not to take it personally.

“That’s the hard thing for us. Although we’ve done nothing wrong, we’ve had so much hate.”

Romsey Advertiser:

Romsey Advertiser:

Like many companies, Emma said her small but hardworking team have been navigating the coronavirus lockdown period, trying to keep their heads afloat.

She said she fears that this episode has been damaging to her business.

"it's been suggested that we change our name but why should we? It also costs thousands of poiunds to rebrand. I need to think about whether that is a good spend of money over say, incresing staff salaries," she said.

This has been an especially tough year for Emma and her partner Josh, who is a director of the firm.

The couple were due to get married in Bracknell on May 28 but their wedding had to be cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

And then there was further trauma for the family when they had to say goodbye to their treasured dog Barney, a sixteen-year-old collie-cross, who died on Monday just as the internet storm began to overtake their lives.

Barney’s death came only a few months after Bungie, their 14-year-old Labrador cross, died at the start of lockdown.

Emma said: “It has been a difficult time. We are fortunate that we have a very loyal customer base. We put in hard work and we've been able to grow our business and were even in a position to hire at the start of lockdown.

She said: "They say no publicity is bad publicity but I have to disagree. This has been horrendous."

She said Lofthouse has not apologised and Solid8 San Francisco has not issued a statement to say they are nothing to do with the small Basingstoke business.

"It would have been helpful for them to have done that," she said. 

In a statement to The San Francisco Chronicle, Lofthouse apologised for his conduct and said: “I can confirm that I have stepped down from Solid8, terminating all business relationships with immediate effect. I will make it my duty to ensure my personal actions do not continue to have a detrimental impact on those people closest to me.”