From CNN to ABC, everyone seems to have fallen for #AlexFromTarget, which started last week when a teen posted a video of Alex Christopher LaBeouf, a Target employee, working at a cash register. However, while startup company Breakr took to LinkedIn to claim responsibility for the viral stunt, there appear to be several holes in the company’s story.
According to the CEO, Breaker had one of its power “fangirls,” Abby (@auscalum), tweet a picture of LaBeouf. The picture was then sent to other “fangirls,” with Breakr saying the company then passed the picture along to some “YouTube influencers.” From there, #AlexFromTarget took on a life of its own.
“We wanted to see how powerful the fangirl demographic was by taking an unknown good-looking kid and Target employee from Texas to overnight viral Internet sensation,” wrote Breakr CEO Dil Domine Jacobe Leonares.
On its website, Breakr says it helps “connect fans with fandom,” though its purpose isn’t exactly clear. Even so, it seems that Breakr works with teen social media influencers, who come from places like Vine, Twitter, and YouTube, to name a few. They’re called influencers because they hold influence due to their mass followings.
However, Breakr’s story has come under fire, as both LaBeouf and Abby have denied ever coming into contact with Breakr. In addition, according to Twitter tracking site Topsy, the first person to use the #AlexFromTarget hashtag was Twitter user @_twerkcam, with Leonares telling Buzzfeed he did not know that user and has never communicated with him.
My family and I have never heard of this company.
— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 5, 2014
i dont work for breakr wtf i dont even know what it is
— ⠀ (@auscalum) November 4, 2014
Leonares also brought up YouTube user Stephen Edward’s Alex From Target parody, with Leonares writing that Edward was in a Google Hangout with him the whole time. Edward told Buzzfeed News that he never collaborated with Breakr. “I decided to make my ‘parody’ video of the whole Alex From Target trend on my own,” said Edward. “I do know the CEO of Breakr and have spoken to him before, but in no way has he ever reached out to me and asked me to be a part of his network.”
Viral memes, everyone!