1. This picture of swimwear model Kate Upton and someone claiming to have been her high school boyfriend went around the world yesterday after it was posted on Reddit.
BuzzFeed reported on the picture and we said we’d update if we found out any more about the claim. We messaged the Reddit poster, the elaborately named Coolsexguy420boner, to ask him what the story was.
We can now reveal that the person in the picture is not the Redditor who made the original boast: pictured next to Kate is 22-year-old student Jeffrey Allen, currently studying for a masters degree at the University of Florida.
Coolsexguy420boner claimed he had a brief relationship with Upton but then split up with her. The story and picture went viral and appeared on dozens on news websites in the US, UK and elsewhere, as the Reddit thread grew and grew. But Allen knew nothing about it.
He tells BuzzFeed: “I didn’t post this picture, I had nothing to do with it. I saw people were posting about it and it went from Reddit to BuzzFeed, it just went crazy. It was a life-changing day.”
2. So who did post it? Allen says an old schoolfriend was behind both the post and the ridiculous Reddit username.
Allen tells BuzzFeed this person posted the picture in an attempt at attaining kudos and notoriety through Reddit - only he was a little bit too successful as the story took off internationally.
“I knew exactly who it was. I knew he went to (the same school) and there were only a handful of people who could have had that picture,” he says.
“There was a post (on Reddit) from when she was 18 and he just wanted to one-up it for the karma. He feels really bad about it now.” (Karma is Reddit’s system whereby users recommend each others’ posts.)
Allen tells us he was friends with her but they were not romantically involved.
Allen says the picture must have come from an old Facebook album and was posted, along with the high school romance story, as a way of boosting his Reddit karma. It was taken at a birthday party in April 2007 when Allen was 16 and Upton was 15.
He says the speed and extent to which the picture took off globally surprised the poster, who has been in touch to apologise.
BuzzFeed sent a private message to this account yesterday but received no response - the account now appears to have been deleted.
3. So he could only watch on with horror as a picture of him and Kate went viral.
Allen kept in touch with Kate for some years - she would occasionally send updates on how here shoots were going, before she found the kind of stratospheric fame she now enjoys. But he has no idea if she’s aware that a six-year-old photo of her and her old schoolfriend caused a mini media storm.
Understandably, Allen says he’s just happy to clear up the whole matter and get back to normal.