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SwampMusic12 is the YouTube handle of Tennessee resident Mark Brown, a self-described “hillbilly” who is known for uploading videos of his pet raccoons Gunshow (deceased) and Rebekah.
On July 3rd, 2012, Brown launched the SwampMusic12 YouTube channel, with the first uploaded video featuring Brown spraying himself with a Hannah Montana-branded repellent to stop his raccoon from biting him (shown below, left). Within the next 13 months, the video gained nearly 1.2 million views and 1,100 comments. On July 5th, Redditor CajunSkip submitted the video to the /r/youtubehaiku subreddit, where the post garnered more than 1,200 up votes and 30 comments. On July 8th, Brown uploaded a follow-up video titled “Hannah Montana Coon Repellent Part 2 – Bold Yet Sassy” (shown below, right), in which he explains why he uses the Hannah Montana-branded spray.
On July 15th, Brown uploaded another video of himself dancing on his porch with his pet raccoon (shown below, left), raking in another 1.1 million views and 430 comments within the first year. Over the course of the following year, Brown uploaded several additional videos of his raccoon, though most failed to draw any significant attention. Then on July 20th, 3013, Brown uploaded a video titled “Santa, A Raccoon and Hannah Montana Shampoo,” featuring footage of himself taking a shower with his pet raccoon (shown below, right), gaining upwards of 300,000 views within the first month. The video also brought about a resurgence of interest in the YouTube channel on Reddit.
On August 6th, 2013, Brown uploaded a video revealing that his pet raccoon Rebekah had been seized by the state of Tennessee and that he is petitioning the government for a pardon and permit to have her returned home (shown below). In the video description, Brown urged his viewers to help spread his message via Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s Facebook page and ask him to allow Rebekah to return home to his care. (shown below).
On August 13th, News Channel 5 published an article reporting on Brown’s dispute with the state, which quoted a representative from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency who claimed they visited Brown after receiving a complaint from a neighbor. On August 15th, Redditor ymo submitted the video to the /r/videos subreddit, where it received over 2,900 up votes and 350 comments in the first 24 hours. Shortly after Redditor ymo’s video post took off, Governor Haslam’s Facebook page became flooded with pleading messages from Brown’s supporters (shown below). In the coming days, several articles about the government seizure were published on Gawker, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail,ABC News and The Daily Dot.
On January 3rd, 2014, Brown uploaded an image on his official Facebook page, announcing he would be running for Governor in 2014.
On January 4th, Brown uploaded a video to YouTube explaining that he would be entering the gubernatorial race in Tennessee to challenge incumbent Governor Bill Haslam in the Republican primary. In the video, Brown reveals that his attempts at having Rebekah returned to him by the state had gone unanswered and that running for governor would be his next step in having his pet raccoon returned to him.
“We are one nation under God -- not above God. And just like the purity of this apple … well, I don’t know where I was going with that, but I guarantee there will be changes made. Changes you’ll like. You call me, I promise I’ll answer the phone.”
The Daily Dot – Tennessee family pleads for return of YouTube famous pet
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