Exclusive: German Author Of ‘Dear Americans’ Viral Message Says Rise Of Trump Made Him ‘Physically Sick’

He concedes it was “weird” JK Rowling re-tweeted his graphic. “I was sorted into Gryffindor, so there you go – they have a Sorting Hat at the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank. Great fun.” (Gryffindor is the Hogwarts house emphasising the traits of courage as well as daring, nerve, and chivalry).

Asked if he was pleased people realised that Germans had a sense of humour, despite the stereotype, ‘Franklin’ points to an international flavour to his background.

“Well, I studied in London, lived in Ireland and the US for most of my life. I only watch British and US comedy. Frankly, I can’t stand what passes as comedy in Germany at the moment. So to answer your question: I’m chuffed as hell, mate.”

The ‘Dear Americans’ graphic took very little time. “The text was already in my head (for a long time), and puzzling the whole thing together took 15 minutes. Longest part was deciding on a typeface. I picked Helvetica in the end. Thought that might make both Americans and Germans happy. Little typo nerd humor there, sorry.”

His family and friends are unaware of his viral fame, however. “Here’s the fun thing: they don’t know. Well, family doesn’t know yet, anyway. Some friends do. One actually forwarded me my first text and said ‘That was you, admit it.’”

His “secret identity” – either ‘Crappy Crapson’ or ‘Johan Franklin’ – is “unbeknownst to those I care about”. However, “some Trump supporters do”.

“They found out,” he says. “They got my email. I have no clue how. (Insert random conspiracy about Russian hackers here). That’s part of the reason I don’t go around boasting about my 15 minutes of internet fame to my family.”

HuffPost UK: So why the pseudonym?

‘Johan Franklin’: “My company asked me (way before that ‘Dear Americans’ thing) not to post anything political under my real name, in order not to upset my clients. They knew (and acknowledged) that they couldn’t force me to do that, but I agree – my clients are better off thinking of me as neutral. Just like Switzerland, as a matter of fact. Johan Franklin is a much prettier name than the one that’s actually in my passport.”

HuffPost UK: So Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the US) was your inspiration?

‘Johan Franklin’: “Spot on. I found Johan Kennedy to be a bit too much on the nose.”

Johan heads back to Germany in two weeks, ending his latest three-month stretch in the US. “Hope they’ll let me back in in January!”

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