Can McAfee Secure Its Brand From Damage by Namesake Founder?

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Four dogs owned by American visionary John McAfee, the founder of the namesake anti-virus company of the same name, were found poisoned to death near his home in Belize more than a week ago. McAfee’s neighbor, US citizen Gregory Faull, was found dead in his home soon after, a bullet wound in his head.

McAfee was suspected, though he claims he didn’t do it. So what does he do to help prove his innocence? The 67-year-old eccentric, who resigned from McAfee back in 1994, decided to put on some disguises and go hiding along with his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha — who has “helped (him) evade detection by grabbing (him) and kissing (him), in public, in a fashion that causes passerby’s to feel embarrassment at the thought of staring and by creating emotional scenes that cause the curious to momentarily forget what they were looking for.”

How do we know such intimate details from a man who is supposedly keeping himself out of sight? Well, McAfee is blogging the whole Hollywood-esque caper, whoismcafee.com, so he could shre his thoughts about the search for him, whatever facts he can dig up in his own investigation into the murder, and his anger toward the police, the media, the Belizean government, and pretty much everybody else except Samantha and his old pal Chad Essley, the director of Portland, Ore.-based Cartoon Monkey and the man who is created the blog that McAfee is posting to, according to CBS News. It’s also a huge PR nightmare for his former company.[more]

McAfee seems to be doing his best impression of the Man with 1,000 Faces, Lon Chaney, while he’s on the lam: “The first day I colored my full beard and my hair light grey — almost white,” he wrote. “I darkened the skin of my face, neck and hands carefully with shoe polish and put on an LA Saints baseball cap with the brim facing backwards and tufts of the front of my hair sticking out unkempt through the band. I stuffed my cheeks with chewed bubble gum stuck to the outside of my upper and lower molars – making my face appear much fatter. I darkened and browned my front teeth. I stuffed a shaved down tampon deep into my right nostril and died the tip dark brown – giving my nose an awkward, lopsided, disgusting appearance.”

The “Boy’s Own Adventure” that is the life of McAfee these days is taking on a Hollywood twist as he pushes his acting skills and Matt Damon, no doubt, is looking to option the script. The serape-wearing McAfee spent that day drifting up and down the beach near his home with a “pronounced limp” while selling “Guatemalan woven goods,” “pushing an old single speed bicycle,” and speaking “broken English with a heavy Spanish accent.” What better way to keep an eye on the actions of journalists and the police? Another day he sold tamales and burritos. On another, he pretended to be “a drunk German tourist with a partially bandaged face and wearing Speedo swimming trunks and a distasteful, oversized Hawaiian shirt and yelling loudly at anyone who would listen – ‘Leck mich um ausch!’”

If the public’s cringing, so is McAfee’s namesake brand, which is steadfastly ignoring the whole affair.

So far, McAfee’s getups seem to be working, though, but it surely isn’t bringing pleasure to his old company, which now has to have its name tied up in an international murder case. They also surely weren’t excited to see McAfee’s post that even if he is caught, he’s prewritten a year’s worth of material for the blog that will appear — as long as Chad keeps up his end of the bargain and keeps posting.

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