Move over, Ryan Gosling: the Internet heartthrob of the moment is Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old contractor who leaked documents about NSA’s secret phone-and-Internet-surveillance programs to the Guardian and the Washington Post. As of Tuesday, he hadn’t been charged with anything (yet) and was still believed to be hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel.
While his exact whereabouts may be unknown, Snowden’s face is everywhere on the Internet and featured in tributes like the Tumblr page Edward Snowden; Kinda Hot. As of Tuesday morning, however, the blog seemed to still be in its beginning stages, only highlighting two quotes and screenshots from his interview with the Guardian.
Throughout Tumblr, Snowden supporters are rooting for “Team Edward” via memes — even pink and gray T-shirt designs — a play on the fan club surrounding dreamy Twilight character Edward Cullen. Anonymous News Germany’s Tumblr thinks Snowden is presidential material, photoshopping the “Obama for America” logo to read “Snowden-Manning: Change We Can Believe In,” which alludes to another well-known leaker Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.
On Twitter, users have been gushing about Snowden’s looks, rating them on a scale of “hot” to “superhot,” the Daily Beast reports:
I know this is far beyond the point and making light of the situation but Edward Snowden can blow my whistle #beendrinking—
Chloe Tse (@coldv) June 10, 2013
Gareth Briggs (@garethbriggs) June 10, 2013
A petition on the White House’s We the People website urging President Obama to “pardon” Snowden — calling him a “national hero” — has racked up more than 48,000 signatures since it was created on June 9. Even former Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul has joined Snowden’s fan club. Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and Snowden “have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret,” Paul said in a statement on Monday.
In the Internet’s typically fickle fashion, now online gawkers have shifted from ogling Snowden to ogling his girlfriend Lindsay Mills, a ballerina whom he reportedly left behind when he fled to Hong Kong in May.