Who is Ken Bone really? Hero of presidential debates branded a sellout after advertising for Uber

Mr Bone aimed to capitalise on his status as America's sweetheart. He ended up with a tirade of angry tweets

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The Independent Online

Ken Bone was this week hailed as the real winner of perhaps the most divisive contest in history. But his dream might already be over.

Mr Bone became famous this week after asking a relatively uncontroversial question about energy policy during the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A combination of his straightforward question, earnest manner and red sweater captivated the heart of an American public desperate for a hero in a very unheroic election.

But in this most divisive of elections, enemies are easy to come by. And Ken Bone – just days after his coronation – may already have come undone.

He is receiving a stream of angry tweets after he used his new-found fame to advertise luxury taxis.

Mr Bone had used his until this week entirely quiet Twitter account mostly to delight in his new fame. He had posted messages about what he had been up to since the debate, and engaging with his new fans.

That was until he posted a message advertising the new UberSELECT service, and broke America’s heart in the process.

“KEN DONT BE A SELLOUT,” wrote one tweeter in reply to his update. “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain,” replied another.

Others said that they were disappointed in Bone but understood that it made sense. “SOLD OUT, pretty quick, huh, Ken?” one reply read. “You know what, a man like you needs $$$ to keep up on style, so I'm okay with it.”

And yet more said that it should have been expected and that Mr Bone was making the most of his situation. “Good for you Kenny, dude just got paid,” wrote a user calling himself Kev.

The message itself was fairly straightforward, but it was the first real and obvious way of attempting to cash in on his new fame and his 212,000 followers.

“Everyone wants to know if I’ve decided,” he wrote in a message that ridiculed the fact that everyone had been waiting for him to endorse one of the presidential candidates. “And I have.”

“uberSELECT helps you ride in style like me.”

The tweet then linked out to a post on Uber’s site that made reference to UberSELECT, the company’s luxury option for its taxis. The update made clear that the feature was rolling out in St Louis – where Mr Bone is from, and where the second debate took place.

“A ride worthy of an olive suit — or a red sweater,” Uber wrote, referencing the story of Mr Bone’s clothing choices at the debate. The rest made relatively little reference to the man who has become a meme, apart from claiming that he had been the first person in St Louis to take an UberSELECT.

Mr Bone had already looked to capitalise on his success with a t-shirt. He said that he would sell the merchandise – which depicts his face and the word “Bone”, styled as on Obama’s famous “Hope” posters – for a week.