Say what you will about
With the power of Twitter, Bieber unleashed his 4.5 million followers upon the
teen, who had hacked the Facebook page of Bieber’s pal to get the pop
star’s cell phone number. Kevin proceeded to send Bieber as many as 10
text messages a day for weeks.
Bieber asked him to stop, but Kevin, who’ll be a sophomore this year at
“He just wanted to see if
So, last Saturday — the day before Bieber’s sold-out show at
He posted Kevin’s cell phone number instead of his
own on Twitter, urging fans to call or text him. Over the next two
days, as many as 30,000 calls and text messages flooded Kevin’s phone.
Newspapers, TV and radio stations — even the big
network morning shows — descended upon the Kristopik home. Kevin and
his mom spoke with “Inside Edition,” which has offered
“There were like five messages from ‘Good Morning
America’ on our phone,” Kristopik said. At Kevin’s first varsity tennis
practice on Monday, “two TV trucks pulled up. And Kevin was yelling at
them, ‘You’ve gotta get out of here.’ “
Of course, the requests for interviews continued.
Right up to my phone call to the home Wednesday evening to ask whether
Kevin got in trouble for hacking his way to Bieber’s phone number or
for harassing the pop star. Would he have to help pay for any big bills
The answer was not exactly what I expected.
“What Kevin did was absolutely wrong and he knows
that,” Kristopik said. “But what he didn’t do was … give out that
phone number. … He could have sold the number or given it out.”
When Bieber turned the tables, “it scared him,”
Kristopik said. “He had a couple of meltdowns over it. … What he was
scared of was how much information people knew about him. It punished
Kristopik noted that “Kevin pays for his phone
himself,” with money he makes mowing lawns and doing chores. She
controls the use of his iPhone and monitors the bills and activity,
adding that his phone was taken away at the end of the school year
because he got bad grades. It was returned to him when he got an A in a
summer school computer class.
Since the spring, Kevin joked about trying to get Bieber’s phone number. But his mom never thought he’d actually do it.
“He’d say, ‘Oh, I’ve been trying to figure out
joking around by the campfire,” she said, noting that Kevin wasn’t a
die-hard Bieber fan and that “he’s not a techie.”
Even so, Kristopik knew what Kevin was up to — using
the “forgot your password” function to try five different passwords a
day on Bieber’s friend’s account until he eventually figured it out.
“It was spontaneous,” Kevin told me. “I didn’t really plan for anything major to happen.”
Something major did happen. And yet, after all the
fuss, Kevin still has his phone (albeit with a new number). His parents
didn’t punish him for his shenanigans. And if a big, fat bill arrives
Kristopik says her son has gotten “like 800 friend requests” on Facebook. “Every day it keeps growing.”
And I’m left scratching my head about how instant fame and popularity equates to punishment at all.
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