A businesswoman who legally changed her name after LinkedIn demanded she uses her real name is stuck being called Rainbow after the company backtracked.
Formerly known as Lea Turner, the social media coach from Northampton says she is obsessed with rainbows and used the emoji on LinkedIn as part of her brand.
She was left fuming after being locked out of her account after the company said she could only use her legal name on the site.
But the 35-year-old decided to cheekily get the upper hand by legally changing her name by deed poll to Lea Rainbow Turner.
Lea then messaged the company to explain that Rainbow was now her legal name and ask if she could now re-add the matching emoji to her name.
But the company initially told her no symbols or emojis were allowed – prompting the single mum to add her new name, which quickly went viral after she wrote a post about it.
LinkedIn then said this was a “mistake” and Lea was welcome to use the rainbow emoji in her name after all – meaning she has legally changed her name to include Rainbow for no reason.
Lea said: “They had logged me out of my account and said that I was ‘using a name that wasn’t my legal name’ or something along those lines.
“I had to change my first and last name field before I was allowed to log back in and then got a warning saying I was breaching the terms of service by having something that wasn’t my name in my name field.
“I was laughing the whole way through [changing my name] and sat there with a smile on my face going – ‘I’m really going to change my name to Lea Rainbow, this is hilarious’.
“I knew I was going to do it, but I had that moment of hesitation going ‘this is going to be a lot of paperwork’ and thought ‘no, I’m committed now’ and I hit confirm.
“From that point that day I just had a massive grin on my face and I’ve been spontaneously laughing to myself about it ever since.
“I thought it was hilarious, took the screenshot, posted it and it went viral.
“I was hoping that LinkedIn would allow me to use the emoji in my name if it was officially Rainbow, and I could replace the word with an emoji, but they said they wouldn’t let me do that so I put the word in there instead.
“I don’t really know [why they have now backed down.] I wonder if the initial taking it away was probably automation – somebody reported it and they automatically locked me out.
“Then when I spoke to LinkedIn Help it was probably a lower down employee that has gone ‘er, no, it’s just a flat blanket ban and we can’t make exceptions to the rule.’
“It could be they realised how much traction I was getting or that because it’s now legitimately my middle name, it doesn’t really make sense to not allow me to have it – I don’t really know their thinking behind it, but I’m just glad that I have it.”
Lea said it cost £54 to change her name and that it was worth the expense.
She added: “I made over £1,500 in sales off the back of it – it was worth £54.
“I was born Leanne Elizabeth [Turner] but I’ve never used that name, I haven’t been Leanne to anybody since I was ten and I’m embarrassed by my middle name – it’s just very generic, and I’m not a generic person – I definitely stand out and it’s never felt like a name that’s suited me.
“Now every single time anybody asks my full name I will smile and remember yesterday and how funny it was.
“I like to be a bit dramatic every now and then, I’m not really a dramatic person but I’ll ham it up if it’s funny – I’ll make a joke of it, that’s me and my brand, I’m not the kind of person that takes anything in life particularly seriously.”
Lea said she had always been ‘totally obsessed’ with rainbows as she has artwork of them in her home and even has a tattoo.
The mum continued: “I’m a huge ally of the LGBT community. When I put it up it was in solidarity, and then it stuck and people kept on saying ‘I see that rainbow’ and I thought well, I may as well just leave it.
“Everybody notices my rainbow in the newsfeed on LinkedIn – it’s quite a strong part of my brand now, it’s been a year since it’s been there on my profile, and people have just got to know it.”
The LinkedIn lover claims the social networking platform “changed her life” after she started using it back in 2019.
She claims her recent situation made a “fun” post to share with her nearly 80,000 connections and it went viral – with one dubbing it the “best LinkedIn post ever”.
Lea said: “Everybody’s been really supportive – they’ve been like ‘it really suits you’, ‘it suits you better’, ‘it’s hilarious’ and ‘this is the best thing I’ve seen on LinkedIn for ages.’
“It’s that kind of anti-establishment, anarchic thing that people get behind when they go ‘yeah, you can’t tell us what to do’.
“Obviously they can tell me what to do and I will comply because I don’t want to lose my account and I do respect them because they’ve done so much for me, but at the same time it’s like ‘you can’t censor us’ and ‘rally the troops and they all get behind it’.
“I think more than anything people have just found it funny.”
A LinkedIn spokesman said: “Hi Lea, we’re delighted to have you on LinkedIn and hope you can understand why we ask our members to use their real or preferred professional name.
“We’re sorry about the confusion over the emoji – it’s our mistake. If you’d like to update your name to also include a [rainbow emoji] – please do go ahead.”