Apologies to Kim Kardashian, but Alex from Target's means of "breaking the Internet" was a lot more intriguing and grassroots than posing naked on the cover of a magazine. See, Alex Lee was just a 16-year-old employee at a chain store when he became a worldwide trending topic almost overnight.
After he became the viral sensation known as #AlexFromTarget, Lee went on to appear on Ellen. He acquired hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. And, since no viral phenomenon would be complete without a few naysayers calling shenanigans, a marketing company tried to take credit for creating #AlexFromTarget.
But, being called a hoax is apparently the least of Alex Lee and his family's newfound concerns. Despite having made it all the way to New York Times profile status, the Gray Lady's article about Lee's meteoric rise to Internet fame outlines the pitfalls of any sort of celebrity.
You see, Alex Lee really is just a normal teenager from Texas. He's as astounded by his current 15 minutes as everyone else. He's also shocked by the almost-immediate negative repercussions of the spotlight's glare.
"For starters, Alex says he can barely go outside for fear of being accosted," The Times writes. "'I’ve been in the house the entire time,' he said. 'I’m kind of scared to go in public.'" There's also the fact that "thousands have taken to social media to call Alex names (including vulgarities) or fabricate stories about him being fired." Other posts "denigrate his looks." Lee has also received "dozens of death threats on social media and in private messages."
Lee's father also told the Times that the family's personal information — including social security numbers, bank accounts, and phone records — has been leaked online. Alex is one of six children, and his parents have had to contact the local police, his school principal, and security officers to enact a strategy in case there's an emergency.
Despite the shockingly negative responses to Alex's fame mentioned above, his family really just wants to turn this opportunity into something positive. The Internet will sink its short attention span into something else in no time flat. Let's just let this happy-go-lucky teen from Texas have his moment in the sun. (The New York Times)