By KI MAE HEUSSNER
Antoine Dodson Capitalizes on Accidental Fame With Facebook, Twitter, Web Page, Merchandise
For many people who dabble with fame, it's their face that determines their fortune. But Antoine Dodson's ticket to success isn't his face, it's his fury.
Three weeks ago, the 24-year-old man was struggling to complete an associate's degree at a college in Huntsville, Ala., while living with his mother, three sisters and a niece.
Now, he's an Internet superstar with Facebook fans by thousands, YouTube views in the millions and enough money of his own to move his family into a new house.
All because of a televised rant that attracted a rabid following.
On the local news in late July, Dodson unleashed an animated diatribe the likes of which even the Internet had never seen, denouncing an intruder who allegedly attempted to rape his 22-year-old sister, Kelly, in her bed one night.
"Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park," the 24-year-old called out to the camera. "He's climbing in your windows, he's snatching your people up, trying to rape them; so y'all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because they're raping everybody out here."
He ended the video with a sharp warning to the still-at-large perpetrator: "We're looking for you. We gonna find you. I'm letting you know that. So you can run and tell that, homeboy!"
The next day, Dodson said, the online video surpassed one million views, making him a local celebrity. A few days later, his star rose even higher when the Gregory brothers, the masterminds behind the popular Auto-Tune the News videos, turned his blustering into the iTunes hit, "Bed Intruder Song ."
Last week, the song broke through to No. 16 on iTunes' pop charts and the Gregory brothers estimate that, in total, the song has attracted about 15 million views.
"I love it," said Dodson, who now sits atop a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, a personal website and even "official merchandise." "We laugh and joke about the videos. ... We watch it every day."
He declined to say exactly how much money he's made from the video and his new celebrity. But between a PayPal account on his website, which lets people donate to help his family, his merchandise and YouTube ad sales (the Gregory brothers split the earnings 50-50), he said he's made "a nice amount of money."
"It was enough to move my family from the projects," said Dodson, who is known by his first name "Kevin" at home.