Ellen Degeneres Helps Debunk a Big AlexFromTarget Rumor

Courtesy of Ellen

The real Alex tells Ellen he was unaware that a candid photo of him was going viral while he bagged groceries at Target

Ellen DeGeneres put a face on the Internet meme #AlexFromTarget when she interviewed the teen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which aired on Wednesday. The talk show host also inadvertently helped debunk an online rumor that #AlexFromTarget was a publicity stunt.

AlexFromTarget, whose real name is Alex Christopher LaBeouf, according to the Huffington Post, is a 16-year-old cashier at a Dallas-area Target who became an Internet sensation after a customer tweeted a photo of him bagging groceries at work. The photo quickly went viral.

"My manager came up to me, and she showed me the actual picture [on her phone]," he told DeGeneres during filming on Tuesday. "I thought it was fake."

An hour later, "some random girls" found Alex at work and let him know his number of Twitter followers had jumped from 144 to more than 5,000, he told Ellen. Alex's online entourage has since grown to more than 640,000.

By having Alex tell his story on her show, Ellen also helped squash that rumor that Alex was participating in a marketing stunt.

While Ellen interviewed Alex on Tuesday, a marketing company called Breakr claimed on LinkedIn that it had created the hashtag #AlexFromTarget as a social media experiment. Its CEO, Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares, wrote in the post that Alex gave a Breakr employee permission to have his photo taken. Leonares later corrected the post to note the photographer was not a Breakr employee.

Target also released a statement on Tuesday that it had "no affiliation whatsoever" with Breakr.

Alex later confirmed on Twitter that he never heard of Breakr.

Here's how Ellen originally reached out to Alex on Twitter: