Does the in­ter­net buzz about Jeremy Meeks, “the pho­to­genic felon” mean there’s one rule for the ma­jor­ity and an­other for the “beau­ti­ful peo­ple”? Who is get­ting away with mur­der, and who’s to blame?

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

#Hot mugshot guy.

I CAN GUESS WHAT you’re think­ing – why is DNA giv­ing all this at­ten­tion to a con­victed crim­i­nal? First we had the nerve to blog about his mugshot (which you al­ready knew about be­cause you’d checked him out on Face­book ear­lier that day) and now we’re fea­tur­ing him in the Sex­i­est Men Alive is­sue?

If you’re not up to date with the Jeremy Meeks saga, here’s what you’ve missed. In June, the Stock­ton, Cal­i­for­nia Po­lice Depart­ment shared Meeks’ mug shot on Face­book, warn­ing the public of in­creased rob­beries and shoot­ings in the area and that Meeks had been ar­rested on felony weapons charges. Within hours his photo had spread through­out the Stock­ton com­mu­nity and be­yond, mak­ing its way around the globe for all the wrong rea­sons.

With his per­fectly sym­met­ri­cal face, sexy blue eyes, kiss­able lips and neck tat­toos pro­vid­ing plenty of bad-boy al­lure, the dig­i­tal world couldn’t get enough of this sexy mug shot. The orig­i­nal Face­book post was liked over 100,000 times, shared over 12,000 times and gen­er­ated over 26,000 com­ments. #HotMugShotGuy be­came a pop­u­lar Twit­ter hash­tag while a Face­book fan page racked up nearly a quar­ter of a mil­lion fans in just over a month. Many be­lieved Meeks could model and, be­fore long, memes with his face cropped onto the ripped bod­ies of Calvin Klein mod­els gave an idea of what he could be do­ing if he weren’t locked be­hind bars.

Meeks has been in and out of prison for nine years and been de­scribed as one of the most vi­o­lent crim­i­nals in Stock­ton, boast­ing a lengthy rap sheet. His crimes in­clude cor­po­ral in­jury (he vi­ciously at­tacked a teenager back in 2002), grand theft, rob­bery, iden­tity theft, re­sist­ing ar­rest, street ter­ror­ism, gang-re­lated vi­o­lence and weapons charges. The teardrop tat­too be­neath his eye sug­gests he may have even taken a life.

So why is a crim­i­nal like Meeks be­ing glo­ri­fied? We asked DNA’s on­line com­mu­nity. Some

“#HotMugShotGuy be­came a pop­u­lar Twit­ter hash­tag while a Face­book fan page racked up nearly a quar­ter of a mil­lion fans in just over a month.”

pointed the blame at DNA, sug­gest­ing a boy­cott of our mag­a­zine for post­ing the pop­u­lar memes on our site. Oth­ers dis­re­garded the text and left com­ments about his body, not re­al­is­ing the pho­tos were pho­to­shopped. Then there were those who de­fended him. “Ev­ery­body de­serves a sec­ond chance, and in this case es­pe­cially. Jeremy has the op­por­tu­nity to be­come a world­wide model,” one fan posted. “Let’s ini­ti­ate a global move­ment for him to be re­leased,” wrote an­other, ap­par­ently un­aware that Meeks’ mother had al­ready used the at­ten­tion to set up a Go­FundMe. com campaign to crowd-source the $25,000 needed for his le­gal de­fense.

The gen­eral con­sen­sus, how­ever, was that Meeks is a thug and that it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate for me­dia out­lets to draw at­ten­tion to him. “Stop mak­ing stupid ass­holes fa­mous,” one reader in­sisted. “Why are you show­cas­ing him? That’s as ig­no­rant as the likes on his Face­book page and the stupid peo­ple want­ing to bail him out,” vented an­other.

De­spite the back­lash, Meeks, still be­hind bars, is now rep­re­sented by Hol­ly­wood agent Gina Ro­driguez, known for man­ag­ing D-list celebri­ties such as the Oc­to­mom and Tila Tequila. He’s been of­fered $100,000 by porn com­pany Dog­fart, which he’s de­clined, but is in talks to sign a $30,000 mod­el­ling con­tract with an agency in Los An­ge­les. There are also ru­mours that Meeks could star in his own re­al­ity TV show and sign lucrative en­dorse­ment deals when he’s re­leased from jail.

The un­fold­ing story of Jeremy Meeks is crazy but noth­ing new. The crim­i­nal be­hav­ior of the rich, fa­mous and beau­ti­ful is of­ten glo­ri­fied in our cul­ture. Con­sider Wi­nona Ry­der (shop lift­ing), Shia Labeouf (disor­derly con­duct and ha­rass­ment), Justin Bieber (driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, with­out a li­cense and re­sist­ing ar­rest), Lind­say Lo­han (driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, drug pos­ses­sion among many more) and Robert Downey Jr (drug pos­ses­sion and more), to name a few. We’re all “guilty” of see­ing their films, buy­ing their mu­sic or, in the case of Meeks, lik­ing their pho­tos.

Should Meeks be re­warded for crim­i­nal behaviour? Ab­so­lutely not. Will peo­ple buy a pair of un­der­wear be­cause “that hot crim­i­nal” mod­els them? Prob­a­bly.

In­ter­net memes gen­er­ated to sug­gest Meeks’ su­per­model po­ten­tial.

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