A reality show called The Glass House debuted on ABC in June 2012. Contestants lived together in a house while an online audience manufactured drama by voting on which activities would occupy their time for a given episode. One of those contestants was Alex Stein, a twentysomething Dallas native. In the first 20 seconds of the show’s first episode, Stein looked into the camera and said, “America, should I turn into the most epic villain in the history of reality TV?” He later shared his strategy: “Nobody in this house is going to do what I do. Because I got no shame.”
Stein was the first contestant voted off the show, which was canceled after one season, and he went on to appear in two more reality shows. Now 36 years old but with the same preppy, boyish appearance—brown hair swooped to the side, he could pass as a younger brother to Tucker Carlson—Stein has found a new way to get attention. He has become a conspiracy-spouting QAnon stunt troll.
You probably saw the viral video of him at an open microphone portion of a Dallas City Council meeting in February, wearing scrubs and rapping about the COVID-19 vaccine. “All day long, I want to vaccinate your mom. I want to stick it deep in your arm,” Stein rapped to the baffled council members. Dallas Morning News City Hall reporter Everton Bailey Jr. first elevated the video to social media (as of early April, it had racked up 3.6 million views in Bailey’s tweet), and from there it spread to such news outlets as the Daily Mail and Newsweek.