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#ExilePitbull is an online petition launched in July 2012 with a mission to send rapper Pitbull to the small town of Kodiak, Alaska, as part of his promotional campaign for the Sheets energy strips in which he pledged to visit and perform at any Walmart store that received the most votes in an online poll. While the petition was initially driven by anti-fan sentiment, similar to the Send Justin Bieber to North Korea petition in 2010, Pitbull accepted the poll results and visited Kodiak on July 30th, along with the Something Awful columnist David Thorpe who co-created the petition.
In mid-June 2012, Walmart and Sheets Brand energy strips launched a promotional campaign to bring the rapper Pitbull to whichever local Walmart store that gains the most new Facebook likes between June 20th and July 15th, 2012.
On June 29th, 2012, Something Awful editors Jon Hendren and David Thorpe announced on Twitter that they wanted to send the rapper to Kodiak, Alaska, an island that is home to 6130 people as of the 2010 United States census.
Pitbull is having a contest where he'll visit the local Walmart that gets the most FB Likes. @fart and I are sending him to Kodiak, Alaska.
— David Thorpe (@Arr) June 29, 2012
That day, Hendren and Thorpe began incorporating the hashtag #ExilePitbull into their tweets, inviting their followers to like the Facebook page for Walmart Kodiak in Alaska. A screenshot of Thorpe’s tweets was shared on the /r/funny subreddit the same day, earning 2161 points and 16,072 upvotes. In the comments, Redditor TheScoby noted that Walmart Kodiak’s page only had 3700 likes. But as other Redditors joined in and replied to the thread, the likes count of Walmart Kodiak's Facebook page began soaring up at the rate of 50 new likes per minute. That evening, #ExilePitbull was featured on Gawker and music blog Idolator.
June 30th: Pitbull's Response
On June 30th, Pitbull used the Twitter hashtag himself, saying that he heard the Kodiak Walmart carries bear repellent. A few days later, Pitbull invited Thorpe to join him in Alaska since he was "so invested" on sending the rapper there.
I hear there's bear repellant at Kodiak, Alaska
<a href="https://twitter.com/walmartspecials">walmartspecials</a> @<a href="https://twitter.com/sheets">sheets</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%2523exilepitbull">#exilepitbull</a> daleeeeeee!</p>— Pitbull (Pitbull) June 30, 2012
July 2nd: News Media Coverage
After the Walmart Kodiak Facebook page broke through 35,000 likes on July 2nd, the #ExilePitbull campaign hit major news websites including NPR, the Huffington Post and ABC News. Over the next several days, CNN, Mashable and TIME also reported on the hijacked social media campaign.
July 3rd: #KeepPitbull305
Meanwhile, Pitbull fans launched the counter hashtag #KeepPitbull305 on July 3rd to bring the rapper to a Walmart in the area of his hometown, Miami, Florida. A fan chose Walmart 2814 in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, which went onto receive no more than 1,100 likes by the end of the campaign. This small counter-protest was covered by the Miami New Times, PopDust and Idolator.
Ha! Its a movement…daleeeeee!!!!! #KeepPitbull305— Pitbull (@Pitbull) July 3, 2012
July 17th: Poll Results
When the results were announced on July 17th, the Walmart Kodiak page had accrued more than 70,000 likes and won the contest. Pitbull uploaded a video to his official YouTube channel stating that even though this may have been a prank, he "will go anywhere in the world for [his] fans." The conclusion of the contest and Pitbull's video were featured the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Mashable, Reddit and Yahoo! Music.
July 30th: Pitbull Visits Kodiak, Alaska
On July 30th, Pitbull arrived in Kodiak, Alaska, along with Something Awful columnist and Internet prankster David thorpe who co-created the hashtag petition. They visited the Walmart employees as well as local residents and attended a ceremony where the mayor presented a key to the city as a gift.
— David Thorpe (@Arr) July 30, 2012
Thorpe and Pitbull's tour of Kodiak was updated in real time via Thorpe's Twitter feed, providing details on the local residents' reaction and the more personable side of the celebrity rapper. Pitbull also tweeted pictures from his visit and expressed his gratitude to the fans. That same day, Thorpe's live coverage of his visit on Twitter was picked up by internet news site Daily Dot.
Thank U Kodiak…I am honored, truly.
#PitbullKodiak sheets twitter.com/Pitbull/status…
</s><b>walmart</b></a> <a href="https://twitter.com/sheets"><s>
— Pitbull (@Pitbull) July 30, 2012
According to Google Insights, search interest in the #ExilePitbull hashtag campaign peaked on July 18th, the day after the Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska was chosen as the final destination.
 PR Newswire – Pitbull to Visit His Fans' Favorite Local Walmart Store, Powered by Energy Sheets®
 Wikipedia – Kodiak, Alaska
 Twitter – Results for #ExilePitbull
 Facebook – Walmart Kodiak
 Reddit – Help David Thorpe banish Pitbull (rapper) to a Walmart in Kodiak Alaska!
 Reddit – TheScoby's comment thread
 Gawker – Internet Rallies to Send Pitbull to the Most Remote Walmart in America
 Idolator – Pitbull Might Be Exiled To Alaska
 Twitter – Pitbull's tweet to David Thorpe
 Twitter – Results for #KeepPitbull305
 Facebook – Walmart Hialeah
 Miami New Times – #KeepPitbull305 Fails to Save Mr. Worldwide From #ExilePitbull Trolls and Kodiak, Alaska
 PopDust – We Now Have a Counter-Movement to #ExilePitbull
 Idolator – Pitbull May Not Be #Exiled To Alaska After All
 NPR – Miami Rapper Pitbull May Head To Alaska
 Huffington Post – Pitbull May Be Sent To WalMart In Alaska, Thanks To #ExilePitbull Internet Campaign
 ABC News – Internet Could ‘Exile’ Rapper Pitbull to Remote Alaskan Walmart
 CNN – Internet voters could send rapper Pitbull to remote Alaskan city
 Mashable – Facebook Users Hijack Campaign to Exile Pitbull
 TIME – acebook Users Band together to Exile Pitbull to Alaskan Walmart
 Alaska Dispatch – Operation #ExilePitbull a success? Miami rapper looks bound for Kodiak Wal-Mart
 Huffington Post – #ExilePitbull Worked: Pitbull Officially 'Exiled' To Kodiak, Alaska Walmart; Invites Writer Along
 Rolling Stone – Pitbull Is Heading to Kodiak, Alaska
 Mashable – Congrats, Internet: Pitbull Is Going to Alaska
 Reddit – We did it! Pitbull is going to Kodiak, Alaska!
 Yahoo! Music – Pitbull heading north to Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska
 Daily Dot – Pitbull's Alaskan adventure, tweeted by the prankster who made it happen
 Twitter – @Arr's Status Update
 Twitter – @Pitbull's Status Update
Jul 19, 2012 at 03:26AM EDT
Jul 18, 2012 at 04:46PM EDT
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