Florida Man is an Internet meme first popularized in 2013, referring to an alleged prevalence of people performing irrational or maniacal actions in the U.S. state of Florida. Internet users typically submit links to news stories and articles about unusual or strange crimes and other events occurring in Florida, with stories' headlines often beginning with "Florida Man..." followed by the main event of the story. Because of the way news headlines are typically written, they can be creatively interpreted as implying that the subjects of the articles are all a single individual known as "Florida Man". There have been criticisms and concerns surrounding the "Florida Man" meme, with some suggesting that the trend perpetuates harmful stereotypes and may have racist undertones, especially when disproportionately highlighting stories involving people of color or those from marginalized communities.
The Miami New Times claimed that freedom of information laws in Florida make it easier for journalists to obtain information about arrests from the police than in other states and that this is responsible for the large number of news articles. A CNN article on the meme also suggested that the breadth of reports of bizarre activities is due to a confluence of factors, including public records laws giving journalists fast and easy access to police reports, the relatively high population of the state, its highly variable weather, and gaps in mental health funding.
The meme originated in February 2013 with the now abandoned Twitter account @_FloridaMan, which quoted notably strange or bizarre news headlines containing the words "Florida man," such as "Florida man run over by van after dog pushes accelerator" or "Police arrest Florida man for drunken joy ride on motorized scooter at Walmart." The account referred to 'Florida Man' as the "World's Worst Superhero" jokingly implying the headlines are not a variety of people but a single prolific suspect.
Before the creation of the meme, the state of Florida had already garnered a colorful reputation on the Internet, with the social aggregation site Fark hosting a 'Florida' content tag in the years before the Twitter account @_FloridaMan appeared.
After the creation of the account in January 2013, and its ensuing popularization on social media sites such as Reddit and Tumblr, initially through the subreddit 'r/FloridaMan' and the Tumblr blog 'StuckInABucket', the meme was featured in numerous news articles and stories throughout February 2013.
'Florida Man' was also referred to in the opening episode of Season 2 of the FX show Atlanta as a sinister entity, referred to by Darius as an "alt-right Johnny Appleseed" who commits a variety of strange crimes in Florida as part of a plot to keep black voters out, portrayed by Kevin Waterman.
In 2018, IO Interactive released the stealth action video game Hitman 2. In the game's second level, set in Miami, Florida, the players can disguise themselves as "Florida Man," an owner of a local food stand. The player can use this disguise to poison and eliminate their target. The character of Florida Man also makes an appearance in a level set in Berlin, Germany in Hitman 3, where the player can again take his disguise.
A play titled "Florida Man" by Michael Presley Bobbitt premiered July 31, 2019, at New York's Theatre Row Studios.
In 2019, a variation of the meme developed on social media, in which people were encouraged to look up "Florida Man" and the date of their birthday, typically finding a bizarre news report involving a 'Florida Man' on that date. The "Black Judas" who turns in the title characters for reward money in Queen & Slim (2019) and played by Bertrand E. Boyd II, is credited as "Florida Man".
On October 31, 2019, Donald Trump, then president of the United States, was reported as changing his main residence from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida, the location of the Mar-a-Lago resort he owns and frequently visits. Sources joked about Trump becoming 'Florida Man', including The Daily Show, which released an extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that changed all instances of Trump's name to "Florida Man". On October 24, 2020, during his rally for presidential candidate Joe Biden in Florida, former President Barack Obama mocked Trump, saying, "'Florida Man' wouldn't even do this stuff", referring to Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his handling of domestic and foreign affairs.
The maintainer of the Twitter account @_FloridaMan stated in 2019 that he had "retired" from creating tweets at that account.
On November 16, 2022, the New York Post reported his 2024 presidential campaign announcement on the front page as "Florida Man Makes Announcement", proceeding to mock the former president on page 26 referring to Mar-a-Lago as containing his "classified-documents library".
In March 2023 Netflix announced a streaming television limited series titled Florida Man from showrunner (and Florida native) Donald Todd, starring Edgar Ramírez as a disgraced ex-policeman who is forced to return to his native Florida in search of a mobster's missing girlfriend.
The meme has widely been seen as a confirmation of the association between the state of Florida and bizarre or humorous activity, and has been compared to the Darwin Awards. However, the meme has also faced isolated backlash from a single media source, with the Columbia Journalism Review calling it "one of journalism's darkest and most lucrative cottage industries," where "stories tend to stand as exemplars of the mythical hyper-weirdness of the Sunshine State, but more often simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless."
See also edit
- Lacapria, Kim (February 21, 2013). "Florida Man Is Twitter's 'Worst Superhero'". Social News Daily. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Siegel, Robert (February 14, 2013). "'Florida Man' On Twitter Collects Real Headlines About World's Worst Superhero". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on May 4, 2022. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- Kyle Munzenrieder (May 12, 2015). "How Florida's Proud Open Government Laws Lead to the Shame of "Florida Man" News Stories". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- Lou, Michelle; Orjoux, Alanne (March 22, 2019). "Googling 'Florida man' is the latest internet fad. Let's explore why so many crazy stories come out of the state". CNN. Archived from the original on May 9, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- "Is it okay to laugh at Florida Man?". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2023.
- Alvarez, Lizette (May 11, 2015). "@_FloridaMan Beguiles With the Hapless and Harebrained". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 26, 2021. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
- Zimmerman, Neetzan (February 11, 2013). "'Florida Man' Personifies Everything That's Messed Up About Florida". Gawker Media. Gawker. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Davis, Lauren (February 10, 2013). "Florida Man is the nation's worst superhero". Gawker Media. io9. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- FX Networks (March 2, 2018). Atlanta | Season 2 Ep. 1: Florida Man Scene | FX. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via YouTube.
- Comedy Central (November 2, 2018). Who is “Florida Man”? Desi Lydic Investigates. The Daily Show. Retrieved February 10, 2019 – via YouTube.
- IGN (November 28, 2018). "'The Munchies - Hitman 2 Wiki Guide". Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
- Meluso, Maria (February 7, 2021). "How to Knock Out Florida Man in Hitman 3 (Coconut Surprise Challenge)". Screen Rant. Valnet. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
- Cohen, Howard. "'Sunshine State has weirdness for everyone.' So he's taking 'Florida Man' Off-Broadway". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- Haberman, Maggie (October 31, 2019). "Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Axelrod, Tal (October 31, 2019). "Trump changes primary residence to Florida". The Hill. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Hannon, Elliot (November 1, 2019). "Donald Trump Is Officially a Florida Man". Slate. Archived from the original on December 8, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Allison, Bill; Parker, Mario (November 25, 2019). "Trump, Now a Florida Man, Makes Home State Center of Campaign". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Darrah, Nicole (November 5, 2019). "'Florida man' browser extension pokes fun at Trump, Sunshine State". Fox News. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Fearnow, Benjamin (October 24, 2020). "Obama Mocks Trump at Miami Biden Rally: 'Florida Man Wouldn't Even Do This Stuff'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
- Hill, Logan (July 15, 2019). "Is it okay to laugh at the Florida man meme?". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Rupert Murdoch's New York Post Trolls 'Florida Man' Trump With Page 26 Burn". HuffPost. November 16, 2022. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
- "Lee, Stephan. "'Florida Man' Will Go Beyond the Meme This April" Netflix press release; March 3, 2023". Netflix. Archived from the original on March 5, 2023. Retrieved March 5, 2023.
- Holt, Kris (February 8, 2013). ""Florida Man" is pretty much the worst person ever". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Norman, Bob (May 30, 2019). "Who Is Florida Man?". Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on December 8, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2019.