Two weeks ago, Alex from Target officially owned the entire internet. Today, he is bombarded with death threats from trolls lurking on social media. His sudden fame earned him half a million followers on Twitter and a prime spot on Ellen, but as the hype for Alex sizzles, he quickly realizes that there is a frequently ignored yet very real underside to online fame.
His real name is Alex Lee, and the day he went internet famous was just like every other day in his suburban life in Frisco, Texas, working a bagger job at their local Target and having about a hundred followers on Twitter. One fateful Sunday, November 2, a girl from — of all places — Britain stumbled upon a week-old stolen shot of Alex on her feed and retweeted it to her own followers. Hours later, the photo dominated the internet, and Alex Lee became Alex from Target, a royal title fans and even celebs like Meghan Trainor humbly recognize.
In an interview with the New York Times, Alex from Target revealed his experiences with fame and how he has dealt with everything that has happened with him since his photo became viral. He has undeniably enjoyed most parts of his internet fame, but he was also ready to admit the rotten sides of social media prominence. One disturbing confession the teen sensation made to New York Times reporter Nick Bilton regarding his fame was that since his rise to internet celebrity status, he has been afraid to walk out of the house for fears of being confronted in public.
“I’ve been in the house the entire time. I’m kind of scared to go in public.”
Teenage girls have literally chased after him for a selfie, and staying too long in public has proven to be difficult for he and his family. He has also received too many threats online from tireless trolls, with one message saying “Alex from target, I’ll find you and I will kill you.” Having been bullied in elementary school, Alex says he is no stranger to hurtful and even threatening statements. However, his popularity has made it more difficult to ignore the terrible messages, which arrive in the dozens on his social media accounts.
So with all the harassment Alex is receiving online, is he considering ditching Twitter and abandoning his worldwide fame (and potential fortune) altogether. Not just yet. Alex remains a very active user on Twitter, and despite the influx of hate on his social media accounts, the 16-year-old continues to be supported by loving and caring fans.
And no, Alex from Target has not been fired for being internet famous, although he probably won’t be working the cashier station for a very long time.
[Image from Twitter]