The only thing stopping the drug cartel the Zetas from going to Forrest Rutherford’s house is the likelihood that nobody in the Mexican mafia cares about the ’90s one-hit wonder Blues Traveler.
“One of [Blues Traveler’s] fans was threatening to call the Zetas on me, to send them to my house,” Rutherford said. “What gang member is like, ‘I better head to Kentucky because this guy is giving Blues Traveler shit?’”
Rutherford, a Kentucky resident who works in social services, has been the target of a weeks-long targeted harassment campaign propagated entirely by John Popper, singer of the ’90s hit “The Hook.”
He doesn’t know how to make it stop, and Twitter doesn’t seem to want to help.
“It’s one of these things where it’s like, I kind of wish it hadn’t happened, but I understand how funny it sounds,” said Rutherford.
Two Fridays ago, Popper posted an aerial photo of Rutherford’s home on Twitter from Google Maps alongside his address.
“If someone who didn’t have a blue checkmark [denoting that his account has been verified by Twitter] did that, that’s a clear violation of Twitter rules. A ton of people reported this,” said Rutherford.
Then Popper posted Rutherford’s name and address again last week.
“We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
Rutherford said a Twitter support representative asked him to provide a picture of his license and a utility bill to prove that he was, in fact, successfully doxed by the Blues Traveler star. Rutherford complied, and nothing happened.
“He spent a bunch of time using a photo app to Photoshop my pictures and then post them online. He’s done little things like that,” said Rutherford. “Nothing got too crazy until he decided he was going to incite his fans on Facebook.”
Rutherford, who had been posting under a pseudonym until Popper outed his identity weeks ago, said the feud started in 2014.
After BuzzFeed writer Katie Notopoulos referenced a rumor about Popper on Twitter, the singer found the tweet and replied with lewd remarks to Notopoulos that The Daily Beast is choosing not to print. Rutherford jumped into the conversation with some barbs of his own.
“It’s never, ever been this way from my end, where I posted his personal info or said anything threatening,” he said. “You can call him a washed-up rock star or a fucking idiot, but it’s nothing along the lines of what has happened to me.”
Rutherford said he believed tensions had cooled when he congratulated Popper on becoming a father in 2015.
The Blues Traveler star became more hostile recently, however, when a bot that posts random segments of Rutherford’s previous tweets created a nonsense sentence that happened to have Popper’s name in it.
Rutherford’s bot, which tweets under the name @assbott, gained notoriety in the summer of 2016 when a friend who created the bot programmed it to instantly tweet back each time Donald Trump posted on Twitter.
Followers of the then-Republican nominee would often reply to @assbott several times before realizing they were arguing with a robot that mostly tweeted jumbled sentences about baseball and professional wrestling.
Several weeks ago, Popper discovered one of those incomprehensible sentence fragments, presumably when he searched his own name on Twitter.
“He responds to a gibberish tweet with Popper in it with the word Chestnut, which is the name of my street,” said Rutherford.
Popper has also taken to his Facebook fan page to post Rutherford’s personal information.
“On his Facebook post, he said I was a danger to his family and a stalker. That caused some comments on that post that were death threats,” said Rutherford.
That’s when a Blues Traveler fan threatened to send the Mexican mafia to Rutherford’s house.
“I don’t honestly think there’s anybody that cares enough about John Popper,” said Rutherford. “I had to tell my family, ‘Listen, nothing’s gonna happen.’”
Rutherford doesn’t believe any other members of Blues Traveler are involved in the harassment campaign. He thinks Popper is doing the Photoshopping and most of the research himself.
Attempts to reach Popper through his representation at A12 Entertainment in Los Angeles were unsuccessful. After a request for comment on July 18 on the initial doxing of Rutherford, A12 owner Ashley Di Buduo told The Daily Beast that her team was “respectfully passing” on comment.
On July 26, after Popper had once again posted Rutherford’s personal information online to his social media audience, The Daily Beast reached out to Di Buduo again.
“As I’d mentioned in the previous email,” Di Budu wrote, “the team was respectfully passing on your initial interview offer and therefore I don’t have a comment in regards to the new information you had sent over on this.”
In the meantime, Rutherford said he hopes Popper will just stop overnight, not unlike the fame of a certain ’90s blues-pop band.
“Truth is stranger than fiction,” said Rutherford. “It’s a good story, as long as I don’t get hurt or anything.”
—with additional reporting by Eoin Higgins