John McAfee: My Battle With Showtime

John McAfee: My Battle With Showtime

I have always had an adversarial relationship with the press. In spite of this I am, with a few exceptions, gracious with my interviews. The exceptions happen when reporters become rude or it is apparent that underhanded techniques are being used to "create" a story.

Here is an example of a less than gracious interview:

I was called by a reporter at midnight a few years ago and asked for input on a story she was writing about a subject I knew nothing about. When I told her I knew nothing, she then asked: "Well, what are you up to these days?"

I was irritated, first, that she had woken me up and, second, that she had used a ruse in order to get a story about me.

"I've developed a new style of yoga" I told her. "It's called Observational Yoga".

I went on to explain that practitioners sat in easy chairs, drinking wine and eating cheese, while they watched other people doing yoga in a stage. "The effects are exactly the same as if the person were actually doing the yoga" I told her. The interview went on for half an hour.

She wrote a long story, but had the good sense to title it:

You can see the article HERE.

Another example, far more complex and sophisticated, is my battle with Showtime, beginning with this article, and continuing with a number of follow on articles to be completed the day before Showtime's debut of my film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Why would I have a problem with Showtime you might ask?

It starts with executive producer Jeff Wise. Jeff wrote a few good articles about me years ago. They were not very popular reads. Catching on to the trend that sensationalism sells, he finally wrote an article about me on April 23rd 2010 titled "Boy Was I Wrong About Him".

From that point on he wrote as if I was the Devil Himself. It culminated in a Gizmodo article in November 2012 which he stated that I was wanted for murder.

This was a pure fabrication. At exactly the same time, local newspapers in Belize were reporting: "He is not wanted for murder, only for questioning, among others."

Later, Raphael Martinez, Belize National Police Press Officer stated:

"He is only wanted for questioning. He is not a criminal, so extradition is totally out of the equation,"

So why did I run, you might ask? The answers are all in "What really Happened In Belize."

So, the fabricated label provided by Jeff became the truth, according to the media, it played much better than "wanted for questioning"- and I have lived with this label ever since. Would you not also be on the alert if you discovered that Jeff was the executive producer of a Showtime documentary about yourself? But enough of Jeff. There is a full story coming out about him later in this series.

Now….. to the FUN part.

Billy Corben, the director of Spike TV's upcoming six part miniseries about myself, when he discovered the involvement of Jeff Wise, recommended that I refuse all interview requests with Showtime. "This will force them to display the one-sided attitude that they started with" he said. But this was not good enough for me. I wanted to have some fun along the way.

I correctly guessed that Showtime director, Nanette Burstein, would try every method of getting my input. I forced her into the email avenue. She bought it, hook, line and sinker, and included my emails as an integral part of her documentary, as evidenced in Showtime's advertisement for the film:

Problem is: At no time did I ever send Nanette an email.

How did I pull this off, you might ask.

To understand my technique, I must first explain the nature of my relationship to emails, DMs, IMs, private Facebook messages, etc.

I have 49,000 Twitter followers, 32,000 Facebook followers, 33,000 Youtube Channel followers and I receive over 1,500 emails and IMs each week. At times when the media is hot on my tail, the email numbers can double. It is an impossible task for one person to answer them all.

If you doubt these numbers, consider that I hand my email address out to all who ask, and even once published my private phone number in a Business Insider article on a dare.

I am still suffering from that decision.

Bots are used by most people in my position, but I consider that rude to my followers. So I have always used volunteers. They have login access to all of my accounts. This proved troublesome when a rogue volunteer absconded with my Twitter account last year and it took two months to get it back, during which time some truly bizarre tweets came from my account. But nothing is perfect.

My volunteers take their responsibilities seriously. Among my most dedicated, for example, is Jaque Donahue. She is so into it that she handmade a mask, resembling me, that she wears every time she answers my communications, so that she can better get into the character of being me.

Jaque even created, a couple of years back, a website detailing how a person could become me.

Most of my volunteers study my own writing to the extent that they copy everything, even my characteristic misspellings.

Some become so proficient that they have, on occasion, written entire articles under my name for national and international magazines. Rob Loggia and John Casaretto are two ghost writers that have written more than a few such articles.

So, given these resources, it was simple to design a process that would make Showtime believe that they were communicating with me. In truth, in order to keep any of my own influence out of these emails, I read neither the Showtime questions nor my volunteer's responses for any of them.

Volunteers were given instructions to say anything that they wanted, but to please liberally pepper their responses with as much disinformation as possible. They tell me they have done this.

We did have one glitch. Nanette at one point sent an email in which she was puzzled about the sudden changes in my tone in the stream of emails. I was informed and thought for a while that she had caught on. But apparently not.

We did have to jump through some hoops. I figured that Nanette would assume that I would attempt trick her and would attempt to trace my emails to their source location. This is difficult with Gmail, but, believe me, not impossible. Since my volunteers are widely dispersed geographically, our deception would become clear.

Our solution was to funnel all outgoing emails to Showtime through a volunteer who was always with me wherever I traveled. This was no big deal since I have always traveled everywhere with two people who live with me and who also answer some of my communications.

Rob Loggia, a prime contributor to the Showtime effort, is ghost writing my autobiography and knows every detail of the events and relationships of my entire life. He wanted to thank Nanette, the director, for giving him the opportunity to practice:

So did Jacque Donahue:

As for me, I'm sorry I never got the opportunity to write my thoughts down for Showtime. I'm sure they would have been impressed.

I'll leave you with a teaser for upcoming articles about this subject.

I will try to make this fun for my readers.

John McAfee
John McAfee
John McAfee is best described as a force of nature. A legend in the cybersecurity space, McAfee pioneered anti-virus protection and created an industry in the process. Based on his reputation for being ahead of the curve, McAfee has been published hundreds of times in dozens of magazines and regularly appears on TV to discuss the latest cybersec issues. Never one to limit himself, McAfee is also the author of several books on yoga, the inventor of Observational Yoga, and was a candidate for President of the United States in 2016.

A staunch advocate of Freedom and Privacy, a prolific author, a business visionary, a technology genuis and a merry prankster, McAfee is a genuine Renaissance Man fit for our time. Take Zaphod Beeblebrox, Nikola Tesla, George Washington and Jack London - throw them in a blender - and what came out would look nothing like McAfee. It would look more like a pinkish, greyish paste.