On Monday afternoon the Centre Party leader had agreed to field real-time questions from readers on the topic of everyday heroes. But problems arose when she realized that she also had an interview booked with local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren.
A Västerbotten native, Olofsson decided that her date with the local paper should assume top priority.
Despite being otherwise engaged, however, the Minister for Enterprise somehow managed to keep the answers coming on Aftonbladet’s website.
A reader called Kalle explained to the minister that he found it difficult to get work without prior experience.
“Hi Kalle,” came the response.
“I agree with you that it’s tricky. I think work experience programmes may be the solution here, as well as the fact that employers must realize that young people without previous work experience have much more to contribute, such as innovative ideas etc. Don’t give up! /Maud”.
But what Aftonbladet’s readers didn’t know is that they were actually chatting with the minister’s press secretary, Lisa Wärn.
As Västerbottens-Kuriren pointed out, Olofsson couldn’t possibly have been conversing with Aftonbladet’s readers as she was sitting at home in Högfors talking to their journalist at the time.
After the physical impossibility was exposed, Lisa Värn admitted that she had stepped in for the absent minister.
“It’s regrettable that this happened and we apologize,” she told Aftonbladet.
The press secretary said that she had accidentally double booked her boss. But Värn also insisted that did a more than passable impression of Olofsson.
“They were Maud’s words but with my fingers on the keyboard. Maud is the one who answered the questions,” she said.
“I accompany Maud most of the time and know the answers she gives to most questions.”
But Kalle Jungkvist, editor of Aftonbladet’s online edition, was furious that he and his readers had been deliberately misled.
“It goes without saying that our readers want to chat with Maud Olofsson and not her press secretary. We at the news desk are surprised to say the least at having been tricked in this manner,” he told Aftonbladet.