A man arrested after streaking at a rally for President Barack Obama over the weekend was trying to win a $1 million Internet challenge, a billionaire entrepreneur said.
Alki David recently offered the million-dollar prize to the first person who could successfully streak in front of the U.S. president with the website name www.battlecam.com written on his chest. He told Philadelphia newspapers that 24-year-old Juan J. Rodriguez was the first to take him up on the challenge.
Rodriguez of New York City was charged Sunday with indecent exposure, public lewdness and disorderly conduct.
David told The Philadelphia Inquirer that officials were reviewing video footage to determine whether the challenge had been met.
“Whether he was in earshot and eyesight of the president is what’s being debated right now,” David said. The rules of the challenge also included shouting the name of the site six times.
He told the Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News that he is an Obama fan, but streaking is a time-honored way of getting attention. He said the stunt was about marketing the “extreme website” that allows people to compete in events like talent shows and cooking competitions and be rated by other users.
Rodriguez, a Staten Island resident, was arraigned Monday night and released on a $10,000 signature bond – barefoot and dressed in white scrubs provided by police. He told reporters that his family needed the money and he believed he had done everything required to win it – and he did not believe he had done anything inappropriate.
“It’s just the human body,” he said.
“We gave him a pair of scrubs,” Sgt. Ray Evers said. “He’ll be well covered.”
The White House has declined comment on the incident. A number listed in Rodriguez’s name was not in service Monday night, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.
The streaking was not the only interruption at the rally in the Germantown section of northwestern Philadelphia. The Secret Service said it questioned and released an overexuberant fan who tossed a paperback book near the president. Spokesman Ed Donovan said the man had written the book and hoped the president would read it.