Last year’s Academy Awards may be most remembered for the monumental Moonlight mix-up, but there was one other viral moment from the ceremony that had everyone talking.
A man named Gary Coe stole the show when host Jimmy Kimmel decided to chat and introduce him to celebrities in attendance. Gary, who hails from Chicago, was on a trip to Hollywood with his then-fiancée when the tourists got the opportunity of a lifetime — a surprise tour of the Oscars awards show.
However, things didn’t go so smoothly after Gary reached internet fame.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Gary — aka Gary from Chicago as he’s known on the internet — and the famous tourist revealed things were a bit bumpy following the Oscars.
Gary says his family and friends enjoyed seeing the moment on television, but things turned ugly when reports about his past began to hit the news. “Two days later [the media] tried to make it something ugly,” he says.
Reports revealed that Gary had been released from prison three days earlier. He’s served 20 years in prison under California three-strikes law.
The internet sensation shared that he and his then-fiancée, who were “married” by Denzel Washington during the awards ceremony, later split after the death of her brother and Oscars attention put a strain on their relationship.
Gary calls the media coverage “horrible.”
“I didn’t ask to be put on the Oscars. I was minding my own business, walking down the street. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy — that’s America for you.’ And how about the way it’s come down? Look what happened to Harvey Weinstein! Come to find out that the people up in really high places are the ones we should’ve been watching, and not some poor little black guy that’s been locked away in prison for the last 20 years.”
However, since things have died down, Gary seems to be getting back to a normal life. He now lives in Fresno and is engaged to another woman. We wish him the best.