Kenneth Bone, the man, the myth, the meme in the red cable knit sweater, took the Internet by storm when he asked a question about energy policy during last Sunday’s Presidential debate.
To say that he went viral would be a bit of an understatement. The IZOD sweater he wore to the debate sold out on Amazon in a matter of hours and, yes, sexy Ken Bone costumes are now a thing too. He’s already got t-shirts you can buy, an SNL character parody in the works, and has made appearances on news outlets like CNN and Fox and Friends. Daily Show host Trevor Noah summed up the “Bone Zone” mania: “It’s no surprise. He’s cute. He’s got a great sweater.” Ken Bone is everywhere. He’s been labeled “America’s Sweetheart,” called "the real winner of the debate,” some have even posted about "Ken: 2020" but is Ken Bone really as sweet and precious as everyone is making him out to be?
For some, the cute and cuddly quality faded away after he hosted a Reddit AMA last night. Most of the questions were lighthearted and he encouraged users to donate to a homeless shelter in St. Louis, but as Reddit users looked through the history of his account, public opinion began to falter.
In a now deleted comment, Bone said that the killing of Trayvon Martin was “justified.” The word “justified” basically means that it's ok for an officer to kill an unarmed black teenager because the boy appeared “suspicious," without any evidence to prove that claim. Zimmerman's "self-defense" claim also has very little standing — not only due to many issues with Florida's Stand Your Ground law but because Zimmerman had followed Martin, so it's very possible that Zimmerman had initiated the fight that got Martin killed. Long story short, it's not fair to make a claim about the case based only off of Zimmerman's side of the story.
Gizmodo also uncovered porn comments Bone had also forgotten to remove. In one, he calls pregnant women “beautiful human submarines” and in another post, he pretty much blames Jennifer Lawrence for her leaked nudes and adds, “I saw her butt hole. I liked it.” Seriously???
Most recently, Bone came under fire for posting a promotion for UberSelect — the car company’s luxury taxi service. Almost immediately after the tweet was online, many people tweeted in outrage. Some were frustrated that this beloved debate hero was selling out and trying to cash in his Internet fame, others expressed concern because it appeared that Bone had violated FTC regulations. After the story blew up, the tweet was deleted and Bone issued an apology.
On the outside, Ken Bone appears cute and cuddly. Reddit users got a kick out of his answers and thought he was charming and relatable. He’s not an awful guy, but calling him “America’s Sweetheart” is jumping the gun. Leah Mcelrath sums up this up perfectly:
Just because a cute little white man with rosy cheeks and a red sweater comes off as sweet and likable, doesn’t mean that he should be revered as our new national hero. He may be good-hearted, but many of his comments are fueled by privileged ignorance. We’re not sure how long he’s going to try to profit off of his viral status or if he’s going to keep his promise of donating 10% of his sponsorships to charity. The Ken Bone craze was fun and all but, at the end of the day, he’s still an average white guy. We've got bigger issues to worry about.
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