Blame The Internet: The Obsession With Felon Guy, Jeremy Meeks

June 24, 2014  |  

This is exactly why I hate the internet some days. Okay, admittedly, it’s the same reason why I love it. When the image of Jeremy Meeks made its way onto my Facebook timeline, over and over again, I was forced to click on the image and find out more. I became invested in his story. For me, it wasn’t his looks though. I mean, c’mon, are you really fawning over his blue eyes? You still like that? That’s so ten years ago. And let me guess, Michael Ealy is your favorite actor. Girl, boo.

It was the non-stop posting, the memes and the hilarious comments that pulled me in though. I’m a sucker for a good laugh, just like some of you were suckers for good looks. I couldn’t help but read the stories, and eventually I found out his.

Meeks, 30, was arrested on Thursday in Stockton, California, and arraigned on Friday on 11 felony counts related to firearm possession, street gang, membership and parole violations. Okay, so he hasn’t killed anyone, from what we know… yet. Meeks, who was arrested with three other men, was driving the car that yielded a 9MM round of ammunition and a small amount of marijuana. Police also, apparently, searched the trunk and found an unregistered and loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Still not threatening enough, right?

Now, here’s where things went haywire. The Stockton police department posted his mug shot on their Facebook page (I didn’t even know police had Facebook pages!), and the desperation was on 10. The image of this perceived “hottie” spread like wildfire. They were calling him the “hot felon.” and #felonbae. The internet memes provided the day’s entertainment. Almost a week later, and I’m still finding new ones. (Just spit out my coffee when I saw the one with Michelle Obama holding his picture in place of the “Bring Back Our Girls” sign with the think bubble that said “Girl…”). There was everything from his photoshopped face superimposed into fashion ads, hashtagging of “hotfelonfriday,” the mugshot with a few different funny captions, and comment threads where women were virtually throwing their panties at him. It was kinda funny. And at the same time, it was kinda sad.

By Monday, Meek’s “fan page” hit over 170,000 likes. Meeks has a wife and two young sons, and his wife was reportedly “furious” over his newfound internet fame. Her friend Simone Johnson told CBS 13, “Her man is in [prison], and people are taking it as a joke, thinking it’s funny, talking about his looks, saying all kinds of crazy things.”

His brother also talked to local news. “He’s a man who learns from his mistakes,” he told CBS Sacramento. “With his past history, he got out of being incarcerated and put his mind on focus to his family and started doing what he had to do.”

Meeks’ mother Katherine Angiers launched GoFundMe, a campaign to raise funds for her son’s defense. Angier says those are old tattoos, her son has no gang affiliation and he’s reformed. She says Meeks has a job and was on his way to work. She has raised $4,195 of her $25,000 goal so far. Photos of Meeks with his son add a soft touch to his image. This has become a media campaign.

Meeks even agreed to do an interview from behind the prison glass. He didn’t want people to think he was a “kingpin” (I’m not sure I read that anywhere else besides his quote, but okay). He also didn’t seem as attractive when he spoke. The picture did him more justice than the interview.

Yes, some girls love a bad boy. But a teardrop tattoo and two prior prison sentences…really? Meeks served nine years for grand theft auto and two years for grand larceny. And then there’s the Crip thing (well, his eyes are “blue”)…and the beating up a 16-year old thing back in 2002. By the way, those old mugshots looked drastically different. (p.s.—it also shows how the absence of facial hair can make someone seem more innocent).

But what’s interesting is that we have heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the three men in the car with him. We don’t know what they look like. We don’t know their story and we don’t care whether they have enough money to defend themselves. We don’t know if they have a job, we haven’t heard from their mothers, and they aren’t afforded the same opportunity as Jeremy. Why? Because they don’t look as good. No blue eyes on those guys. It’s not that they were ugly. They just didn’t have the “it” factor. They looked too regular. And when you’re being reduced to a photo or a meme (because the context of your story really doesn’t mean anything on the internet), what you look like triumphs everything. Smh.

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