After sweeping the internet off its feet with his charming steel-blues and roguish looks, convicted felon Jeremy Meeks has spoken out.
Thirty-year-old Meeks, from Stockton, California, was arrested on June 18 over gang-related crimes and felony weapons charges.
When the Stockton Police Department posted his mugshot on Facebook, the good-looking thug quickly became an internet sensation.
However Meeks has been behind bars since his arrest – with bail now set at $1million – so he had no idea just how popular he had become.
The American ABC network scored the very first interview with Meeks, who mostly wanted to tell people he is innocent.
“I really appreciate that,” he said, on finding out about his internet fame.
The well-spoken father told the ABC his wife had said hehad received some attention on Facebook, but he had no idea of the extent of his popularity.
“I just want them to know that this really is not me, I’m not some king pin,” Meeks, looking flattered, told the reporter.
While Meeks says he’s no longer a gangster, Stockton Police says he’s definitely a very bad boy.
He served two years in prison for grand theft in 2002, and if he’s found guilty of the 11 felonies he's been charged with his beautiful face could be locked up for quite a while.
However that hasn’t stopped the internet falling head-over-heels for the good looking criminal.
Almost 100,000 people have ‘liked’ his mugshot on the Stockton Police Department Facebook page, which was posted along with the four other men he was arrested with.
There are more than 25,000 comments either lauding his dashing looks or decrying people for finding a felon attractive.
Many commenters seem to share this sentiment: "Omg he's perfect! He should be a model look at those eyes and lips," one person wrote on the Facebook page.
Other people appear to be pretty disgusted about people finding a criminal sexy.
"All of this mindless women... God its sad.." writes another person on the police page.
His friends and family also sound unhappy about Meeks' new-found internet fame.
“It’s ridiculous,” Meek’s friend Rajanique Davis told CBS Sacramento at his arraignment hearing.
“People are making jokes when this is not funny at all.”
His wife didn’t attend the hearing, and another friend told the news network she’s likely to keep avoiding media attention.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t see her at all in the cameras, because she’s upset,” said Simone Johnson.
“She’s furious. Her man is in there and people are taking it as a joke, thinking it’s funny talking about his looks, saying all kinds of crazy things.”
Meeks was arraigned on 11 felony counts, relating to firearm possession, gang membership and probation violation.
The alleged gang member’s brother says Meeks is innocent, and his stint in prison changed him for the better.
“He’s a man who learns from his mistakes,” said Bryan Varela.
“With his past history, he got out of being incarcerated and put his mind on focus to his family and started doing what he had to do. Living the dream that he always wanted.”
As for Meeks’ lawyer, public defender Sam Behar, he’s shocked his client has received so much positive global attention.
Behar told CBS: “It’s better than the attention my clients usually get."
If the felon is lucky enough to get away with a short conviction, we could be seeing a lot more of that face.
Agency Blaze Modelz told TMZ Meeks' gangster look is totally hot right now, and they could book him gigs with high-end fashion houses like Versace and Armani for a cheeky $15,000 to $30,000 per month.
- Brisbane Times