Ken Bone learns perils of online fame the hard way

Undecided voter and his bright red sweater become overnight sensation after his appearance

Image Credit: AFP
In this file photo dated October 9, 2016 Ken Bone (C) listens to US Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As the mud flew at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's second presidential debate Sunday, the American everyman became an instant celebrity by calmly asking a question about energy policy.

Ken Bone is learning the hard way what it’s like to be famous.

The 34-year-old undecided voter from Illinois became an overnight sensation following his appearance in a bright red sweater at the second presidential debate last weekend. He answered questions from Reddit users late Thursday and early Friday.

Bone included his Reddit username in a Twitter post announcing the session. Those who looked up the name found Bone has shared his thoughts on such topics as images of a pregnant woman in a bikini and the increased “sexual satisfaction” he found after undergoing a vasectomy.

In another post, he said the 2012 fatal shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin was justified but also expressed contempt for the shooter, George Zimmerman.

The comments surprised some on social media, with one Twitter user joking: “example 1,345,702 that you should never meet your heroes because they’re probably a weirdy.” Another said that the undecided voter was “no longer undecided on the whole ‘twitter comes for everyone eventually.’”Bone conceded that using his actual Reddit username in announcing the chat was “a bad call,” but he also said: “I’m not running for president. I can say whatever I want.”

He also elaborated on his experience going from an unknown to a topic of conversation across the country in a matter of hours.

Death threats

“It’s been unreal, both the good and the bad. Everybody has responded to the positive message with the exception of a few nuts,” he wrote on Reddit. “For instance, I’ve had almost a quarter million new Twitter followers, and only 3 death threats. Great ratio!”

Bone has been quick to capitalise on his newfound fame. He tweeted a since-deleted ad for Uber Wednesday and is selling shirts with an image of himself similar to Shepard Fairey’s “HOPE” poster created for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Jimmy Kimmel has tapped Bone to serve as a special correspondent reporting from Las Vegas for his special post-debate programme Wednesday.


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