Pink Shirt Guy

Pink Shirt Guy

Updated Jul 19, 2012 at 02:26PM EDT by Brad.

Added Aug 08, 2010 at 06:02AM EDT by prototism.

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Pink Shirt Guy is the nickname given to a man wearing a pink polo shirt and khaki shorts as seen in a photograph of what appears to be a bio-hazardous quarantine site. Since entering online circulation through various discussion forums and message boards, the image has remained an enduring mystery due to its inexplicable nature.


The image is said to have entered online circulation through various forum discussions in the mid-2000s, with its earliest known appearance in a Democratic Underground forum[3] thread posted on November 28th, 2006. The photograph drew much curiosity from the viewers due to his casual attire and nonchalant body language in contrast to four other individuals that are fully dressed in HAZMAT suits and oxygen tanks.


The image began to gain notoriety in 2007 after a single serving site featuring the photograph was launched at[4] on April 12th, 2007. According to the site domain’s registrar history, it was registered by Canadian online marketing firm CarsonBiz Web Services. Months later on September 9th, YTMND user partypenguin uploaded a GIF slideshow[12] of the Pink Shirt Guy photoshopped into various photographs.

Later that same month on September 23rd, a single topic blog dedicated to curating pictures of Pink Shirt Guy cutout placed in real life settings was launched at[1] On October 5th, a link to the website was submitted to Digg.[11] A few days later on October 10th, an Urban Dictionary[5] definition of “Pink Shirt Guy” was submitted, although it provides little information about its history.


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I have no information specific to this picture, but I can tell you I’ve seen this exact sort of scene many times before.

The community college I work for had a program on environmental tech up until a couple of years ago. Part of the program was a course on testing for and cleaning up hazardous materials in natural environments. Those classes often met outdoors behind the industrial tech building, and students were required to wear their full hazmat gear. The instructor usually just wore jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. You end up with something that looks a lot like this.

The others in this picture do look young in comparison to the pink shirt guy, so with no other information I’d have to guess this is a college course in progress.


I can’t find the supporting evidence yet, but if memory serves, Pink Shirt Guy found a piece of wreckage in the days following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.

This explains the incongruity in his clothing with the recovery experts. He was just out and about that day. Whereas the hazmat guys showed up prepared for anything that might be expected from a spacecraft debris.


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