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Gary From Chicago is a person who achieved viral fame after appearing on screen during a segment at the 2017 Academy Awards. Soon after, it was discovered that he had been released from prison three days prior to the segment, creating a moment similar to Ken Bone's Reddit AMA in which the history of a person who becomes a meme sparked a dialogue.
At the 2017 Academy Awards, Jimmy Kimmel did a segment where he brought in actual Los Angeles tourists into the Oscars. He brought several to the front of the stage and introduced them to famous actors. One was Gary Alan Coe, identified as "Gary From Chicago," whose fiancee Vickie featured in the Ryan Gosling Whispering meme from that night. During the segment, Coe kissed actress Nicole Kidman's hand in a video captures by her husband, Keith Urban (shown below).
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) February 27, 2017
The internet quickly took to celebrating Coe. #GaryFromChicago began to trend on Twitter as users jokes about his outfit (a "Hollywood" hoodie), his pink cell-phone case, the way he held his tongue out as he took pictures, and the fact that when Kimmel joked with him that he was "ignoring the white actors," he replied "Yes, I am."
Soon, reports about Gary's history began to surface. He was released from prison, where he had been serving a 25-to-life sentence, three days prior to his Oscars appearance. The convictions against Coe included petty theft in 1997 for stealing perfume, two grand-theft and two shoplifting convictions. He is also on California's sex-offenders list for attempted rape by force or fear in 1997. This led to people pushing back against Gary From Chicago as a meme, while others defended him as a man with a past who had served his time. The A.V. Club posted both viewpoints in the same article, initially posting an article about Gary that decried his criminal past before updating the article to "celebrate Coe's moment."
 The Washington Post – And the Oscar for best surprised tourist goes to … ‘Gary from Chicago’
 The New York Times – Oscars Audience Wonders: Who Is Gary From Chicago?
 The New York Times – ‘Gary From Chicago,’ Oscar Ceremony Star, Has Quite a Back Story
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