Everything that is wrong with internet glamorization can be summed up in two words: Jeremy Meeks (or Kim Kardashian, but I digress). Perhaps you have heard of him by now. Meeks, age 30, was one of four men picked up Wednesday by Stockton police in a crackdown on increased violence in Stockton neighborhoods and his photo was posted on the Stockton Police Department Facebook page, which apparently is routine. What has not been routine is the response.
His mugshot has gone viral and he has become America’s Most Wanted alleged felon — all because in the photo he strikes a pose, with high cheekbones, striking blue eyes and a sulky look at the camera. As of Friday afternoon his photo has been liked almost 73,000 times, shared 9,1222 and received over 20,000 comments. Many of the comments are from women admiring his attractiveness and calling for his freedom based on his striking picture. On Twitter he has generated trending hashtags: #freejeremymeeks and #feloncrushfriday and series of memes.
Innumerable women asked for him to be given house arrest at their home, have suggested that if he need a place to hide out that he come to their house, called him hot, delicious and generally swooned over him. Suggestions that he be a model, get a casting agent or become a star abound.
Have all those folks lost their minds? Is society so desperately vapid and shallow that a strong jawline can distract from reality? He is an alleged criminal, not a rags to riches Cinderella man.
Just take the charges alleged against him according to the Stockton Police Facebook page: “Meeks is a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, along with other firearm and gang related charges. At his arraignment, his bail was raised to $1,000,000.
“A search of the passenger compartment yielded a 9mm round of ammunition and a small amount of what is believed to be marijuana. A search of the trunk located an unregistered and loaded Springfield Armory .45 caliber XD(M) semi-automatic handgun along with two extended magazines for the firearm.
“Meeks, has a felony conviction and a two year state prison sentence stemming from a 2002 conviction for grand theft from a person (a lesser offense to a robbery) out of Solano County. His documented gang membership, as well as Bailey’s, with Northside Gangster Crips forms the basis for the gang allegations in the complaint. A recent resisting arrest conviction suffered by Meeks out of Manteca will result in a Violation of Probation also being filed today.”
Is that the description of the man you want to invite over for dinner, or go on a date with? Really? Even if all of the stuff in the car wasn’t his, he probably shouldn’t be the next Bachelor candidate.
All this attention and information may not reveal who Meeks really is — after all, all that is known of him is what has been gleaned from public records, the internet and of course, his photo. But in this instance, when it is said that he’s more than just a pretty face, it’s not really a compliment.
An admirer, who doesn’t know Meeks at all, made a Facebook page for him and it now has 89,510 “Likes.”
Lisa Perez Tighe has been an attorney, writer and a professor. She attended the University of Notre Dame and New York University School of Law. A native of the Bronx, Lisa currently resides outside of Boston with her husband and four children.