Alex from Target hit by dark side of Internet fame

A picture of Alex, who is from Frisco, Texas, went viral after it was posted by a British girl with the Twitter handle @auscalum.  -- PHOTO: AUSCALUM/TWITTER
A picture of Alex, who is from Frisco, Texas, went viral after it was posted by a British girl with the Twitter handle @auscalum.  -- PHOTO: AUSCALUM/TWITTER

The swooning swarm has turned feral for Alex from Target, the 16-year-old boy who gained instant fame after his photo went viral on Nov 2 with the hashtag #AlexfromTarget.

Alex Christopher LeBeouf, in an interview with the New York Times, said he is now on the receiving end of death threats, through social media and in private messages. One threatened to "find you and... kill you". 

The teenager has been taunted with names online, with many calling him ugly and putting him down. Others have invented stories that he has been sacked from his job at Target, an American retailer.

On top of the verbal abuse, Mr Eric Fooks, Alex's father, said that his family’s personal data such as their bank accounts and phone records has been leaked on the Internet. “The biggest concern for myself and my wife is some of the negativity we’re seeing online,” Mr Fooks told NYT.

A picture of Alex, who is from Frisco, Texas, went viral after it was posted by a British girl with the Twitter handle @auscalum. The photo has been retweeted and favourited thousands of times. He was also followed on Twitter by over 500,000 users in one day and went on to be a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

But fame has been a double-edged sword for the teen, who is now cautious about leaving his home after being chased in the street by fans who demand selfies. 

“I’ve been in the house the entire time,” he told NYT, “I’m kind of scared to go in public."