Just over 12 months ago, an expert on Korea accidentally left his home office door unlocked, and all hell broke loose.
Yes, it’s been a full year since that fateful BBC World News interview on March 11, 2017, when Robert E. Kelly was interviewed live on television and his two young children broke into his home office. Robert was no more. ‘BBC Dad‘ was born.
The video has been viewed some 27 million times, and that’s just on the BBC’s official video alone.
As the year mark ticked over, Kelly even penned a piece for The Interpreter, reflecting on his über viral stardom, confirming that a) he was wearing pants, and b) he’d made a very small amount of money from it.
“This is one of the most common questions I am asked, so in the interests of full disclosure, yes we have profited from it a bit. In the months after the video, we were solicited a lot for commercials and things like that. But most of the offers fell through.
“We did something for Johnson & Johnson once, and we were on a German end-of-year talk show. And I have been invited to speak more regularly at events, some of which are compensated. But the total amount was not that much, and was more like a one-time windfall than a major change in income.”
He also talked about how, due to his family being interracial, the innocent on-air catastrophe suddenly began to symbolise a whole lot more to other people.
“The politics of it was weird. There was not much of this, but the political scientist in me caught it. From the right, one of the very first messages (of the thousands we received) was from a neo-Nazi type calling me a ‘race traitor’.
“This was predictable; anyone in an interracial relationship has experienced it. But to be fair, there was little of that. More curious were the responses from the left which tried to read some kind of race-gender narrative into the video. My wife’s scuttling along the floor (in a vain attempt to stay out of frame) became some sort of metaphor for white-male social power in Asia.
“There was also the early controversy about whether my wife in the video was actually the family nanny. My wife and I were not really put out by any of this, but there was enough of it that we felt compelled to address the subject in our press release. We personally see no ideological content in the video. The episode was just a family blooper.”
A few days ago, a viewer noticed that Kelly’s computer now faced the wall, presumably to avoid another on-air mishap.
He’s moved his webcam so it no longer faces the door ???? ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/LKsQvGBGAD
— Ross Kempsell (@rosskempsell) March 9, 2018
This is like when a celeb is only known for one thing so much that they dye their hair and do an experimental rap album
— Alexandra Haddow (@MissAHaddow) March 9, 2018
But thankfully, it was just a one-off incident – Kelly assured fans / total Twitter randoms that his interview spot will be returning to the peak danger zone in the near future.
This has been re-tweeted 1200 times, so I guess I should say this was only bc I am traveling and had to use a laptop. Once I’m home, it will be the same set-up as always. https://t.co/6bjc1wFT5O
— Robert E Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly) March 11, 2018
Truly, we are blessed. This is the good place.Image: BBC