Kim Dotcom is not a sympathetic individual. Anyone who's followed his career over the years (even from well before Megaupload) has known that. He's loud, obnoxious, ostentatious and seems to have little shame about his past efforts to be on the wrong side of the law. If there's anyone out there who could easily be framed as "Dr. Evil," it is Dotcom. So, it's really quite stunning to realize that the US government and Hollywood have taken perhaps the easiest person to demonize around... and turned him into a lovable "cult hero."
Over the past six months, it appears that the US's massive overreaction to Megaupload, at the urging of a typically clueless Hollywood, has done the exact opposite of what they hoped. Whereas they figured the prosecution of Megaupload and Dotcom was a slam dunk, and that it would act as a clear "education campaign" for others, the truth seems to be the exact opposite. People are realizing that the government and Hollywood overreacted, and it's almost entirely rehabilitated Dotcom's image.
Gavin Ellis, a senior political studies lecturer at the University of Auckland, said that over time the public had become less supportive of the police operation.
“Initially there was a sort of a ‘gee, whiz’ reaction. ‘Wow, look what the police have done, they’ve got this alleged master criminal,”’ Mr. Ellis said. “But then, as the media perception of him and the media portrayal of him changed, looking backward those things started to look heavy-handed.”
While Mr. Dotcom’s lawyers were making steady progress in court, Mr. Dotcom was gaining the public’s favor. A headline on the news Web site Stuff.co.nz in May read, “Dotcom’s straight talk wins over Kiwis.”
“There’s been a clear shift in the characterization of him, from this assumed criminality or alleged criminality, to a cult hero,” Mr. Ellis said.
The amazing thing to me, is that Hollywood and the US government should have known this was going to happen. They more or less did the same thing with the Pirate Bay years ago. Having the US government completely overreact and bring the power of the government down on almost anyone can make them look sympathetic. But even I doubted it would happen when it came to Dotcom, who was so over-the-top that he's very, very easy to dislike. He must have seemed like a perfect target to US and Hollywood officials. To think that within just a few months he's become this "cult hero" is pretty stunning and shows just how clueless both Hollywood and the feds are about the public's reaction to their campaign.