"Alex from Target" has come under fire as being nothing more than an elaborate marketing campaign -- but little Al's employer tells TMZ the Internet phenomenon is 100% genuine grassroots.
The teen cashier, whose full name is Alex Lee, became the new "it" guy when his pic was retweeted more than 1.5 million times in the #Alexfromtarget campaign. Late Tuesday, a marketing company called Breakr claimed responsibility for the movement, saying it was an experiment to test the impact of so-called fangirls.
But a rep for Target tells us it has no affiliation with Breakr ... saying, "Let us be completely clear, we had absolutely nothing to do with the creation, listing or distribution of the photo."
Additionally, several bloggers have started poking holes in the marketing company's "Alex" theory -- claiming it's just trying to piggyback on the sensation for publicity.
Tyga Hacked My Twitter ...
I'm Not a Gold Digging Cheater!
11/2/2014 9:52 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Blac Chyna is blasting her ex, Tyga, for pulling a hack job on her to tweet messages where she appears to confess she's a gold digging cheater.
The tweets -- sent early Sunday morning from Blac Chyna's account -- said, "Im a gold digger & a cheater. I never really loved Tyga It was always about the money. After he took me out the strip club gave me a beautiful family."
Of course, BC denies being a gold digger or a cheater -- and she quickly posted an update on her Instagram saying her account had been hacked by Tyga. Shortly after that .... the tweets were gone.
We've reached out to Tyga's rep ... so far no word back.
Goes on First Post-Hospital Rant
10/31/2014 8:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It didn't take Amanda Bynes long to launch a new rambling rant ... accusing her father of sexual assault again, and announcing plans to get out of her conservatorship.
Friday morning, Bynes tweeted she plans to go to court today to get control of her life ... and her money. She also said, "The police filed a report against my dad - I am not able to be in the same room with him. He is a sexual predator and he SHOULD BE IN JAIL."
TMZ broke the story ... Bynes was sprung from the psychiatric facility where she had been held for more than two weeks ... and was spotted roaming around Sunset Blvd. on Thursday night.
She concluded her Twitter rant by writing, "So sorry you've been fooled by Sam Lufti and my parents, but they are lying about stealing money from me and i cannot continue to allow them to abuse me any more! Thank You everyone, have a great day :)"
Vine Star Jerome Jarre
Detained By Cops For Speedo Prank
10/29/2014 9:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Warning to all travelers -- parading around in a Speedo and carrying a 5-foot rubber duckie at 35,000 feet could get you a 3-hour sit down with cops ... which Vine star Jerome Jarre just learned the hard way.
Jarre pulled the prank on a flight to Miami Tuesday ... thinking he'd record a fun video for his 7.5 million followers. It's what Vine stars do. But Jarre says one of the American Airlines flight attendants didn't get the joke ... and called cops to meet him upon landing. We're told Jerome was detained for 3 hours of questioning.
When it was all said and done ... Jarre was released. We're told American Airlines was merely following standard procedure for someone who creates a disturbance. But Jarre has not been banned from AA.
At least he's got a 6-second memory of his stunt.
Settled Snoop/Iggy Beef
FREE OF CHARGE!
10/21/2014 6:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
T.I. helped squash the Snoop Dogg/Iggy Azalea beef out of the kindness of his heart ... telling TMZ he received nothing for his Kissinger-esque work.
As TMZ previously reported, Snoop posted a video on Instagram apologizing to Iggy for the whole thing ... and it was a call from T.I. that led to Snoop extending the olive branch.
When our photog spotted T.I. in NYC on Monday night, he told us the convo with Snoop was short and sweet.
We also asked about his recent trip to Tanzania and Ebola fears.
APOLOGIZES to Iggy
T.I. Plays Peacemaker
10/15/2014 1:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Snoop Dogg has declared a truce with Iggy Azalea ... officially squashing the beef after just one phone convo with T.I.
Snoop just posted a video mea culpa where he says, "No more bad talk. I apologize. I won't do it again." He says the peace treaty was engineered by Iggy's manager ... T.I.
Snoop never mentions Iggy by name during the brief message -- but Iggy immediately accepted the apology on Twitter.
With the war of words so heated, you gotta wonder what T.I. said to cool things off so quickly. We spoke to Snoop and he would only say ... "Tip called me, it's over. Got a lot of love for cuz, so I let it go! Too much money on my mind to worry bout a biiiiiych."
We're sure he meant that affectionately.
to Break Up Preseason Rut
10/14/2014 11:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Even NBA players must hate preseason basketball, so Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant decided to liven things up a bit and take the wife and kids to Disneyland.
Mamba hit up the Happiest Place on Earth on Monday night ... probably to help wipe out the memory of the Lakers huge loss on Sunday to the Golden State Warriors.
Kobe, Vanessa, and the kids went on rides all over the park ... including Peter Pan.
A guy who never grows old? Yeah, that sounds about right ...
Ebola Tweet Apology
Not Accepted by Fans ... Mostly
10/14/2014 6:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Chris Brown is not a doctor -- he doesn't even play one on TV -- and he's now learned to keep his mouth shut when it comes to important medical issues like the Ebola crisis.
If you missed it ... Chris tweeted this gem to his 13.7 million followers Monday morning: "I don't know ... but I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. S**t is getting crazy bruh."
The immediate and furious backlash included ... "You're not a smart person ... at all," and "You believe this based on what evidence? Oh yeah, none" -- and "Why morons gotta be famous?"
CB conceded defeat after just 3 minutes by tweeting, "Let me shut my black ass up!" But the angry responses kept coming.
Here's the thing -- was Chris hinting that governments are targeting Black people with Ebola? Or was he just trying to sound smart and it backfired? In fairness to Breezy, more than a few people agreed with him. So, he's either crazy or just brave enough to say what lots of people are thinking.
Over Snoop's Insta Slam
10/13/2014 3:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The most random rap feud just broke out -- Iggy Azalea vs. Snoop Dogg ... and it's all over a picture he posted mocking Iggy's makeup-free face.
Snoop posted the Instagram this weekend showing an albino-looking woman with cornrow braids and the caption ... "Iggy Azalea no make up."
The "Fancy" rapper got wind of the pic Monday and blasted Snoop on Twitter, saying ... "why would you post such a mean pic on insta when you send your body guards to ask me for pictures every time we are at shows."
Iggy added, "I'm disappointed you'd be such an ass for no reason."
Snoop hasn't blinked since Iggy went off ... the photo's still up on his IG. Iggy has deleted her twitrage.
To be continued?
Parents Seek Mental Health Treatment
10/10/2014 8:26 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
8:51 A.M. PDT -- The lawyer for Bynes' parents -- Tamar Arminak -- is responding to Amanda's tweets, telling TMZ ... "My clients are heartbroken by these false accusations. Their older children are also horrified at the situation."
Lynn Bynes denies her husband ever abused Amanda or any of their children, saying "Rick has been the best father and husband a family can ask for." She adds, "These allegations stem from Amanda's mental state at the moment. They have no basis in reality."
Amanda Bynes is fleeing New York City after learning her parents were planning to go to NYC to get her in a mental health facility ... TMZ has learned.
We're told Bynes first went to LaGuardia to get out of town but was ordered out of the Airport after screaming at a ticket agent. She was agitated that a flight wasn't immediately leaving. She then jumped in a car to make her way to JFK.
Our sources say ... Amanda's parents have been trying to reason with their daughter to get help for her condition, but Amanda has refused. We're told Amanda's parents had already made plans to put her in a specific facility and had reserved a room, provided they could get their daughter on board.
Amanda is now on the warpath against her dad, saying on Twitter, "He called me ugly as a child." She goes on to make an unsubstantiated sexual misconduct accusation.
She also says, "My dad was verbally and physically abuse (sic) to me as a child."
So far ... Amanda's parents can't find her.
You're Bad For Business
Fundraiser Shuns Support
10/9/2014 8:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Stephen Collins unknowingly wreaked havoc on a fundraiser for a sick baby ... because after he showed support ... the campaign was attacked for associating with an alleged child molester.
Hannah Robinson was born 7 weeks premature last year in Canada ... riddled with multiple life threatening ailments including: bowel disease and issues with her skin and heart.
Hannah's father, Denver started a gofundme page to help with medical costs ... and sent out a bunch of tweets to celebrities asking for support ... including Collins, who retweeted the message.
After TMZ broke the news Collins was under investigation ... Denver says he got bombarded with angry messages from Hannah supporters who hated Collins having any involvement in the campaign.
Denver says people also warned, "Keep your daughter away" from Collins.
Fearing the negative impact ... Denver deleted the tweet to Collins. The message is no longer posted on either page.
Mum on Cryptic Stephen Collins Tweet
Who's Jack M?
10/9/2014 6:46 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kathy Griffin was mum about her mysterious tweet ... suggesting there's someone else out there who should be really worried about getting busted for child molestation.
Griffin weighed in on the Collins child molestation scandal Tuesday when she tweeted, "Well well well #StephenCollins, looks like u may have finally gotten urself busted after all these years. Jack M, ur next? KG"
It left people wondering ... what did Kathy know about Collins and who in the world is Jack M?
But when we asked Kathy about it Wednesday night outside Osteria Mozza, the boisterous comedienne kept her mouth shut.
The mystery deepens.
Jokes Prez Obama Is Like
The Ebola Virus
10/3/2014 7:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Shameless" star Steve Howey can forget about any future White House invitations ... because he blasted President Barack Obama with an Ebola joke that ended up backfiring.
Howey tweeted on Thursday ... "People shouldn't be so scared about this virus from Africa. He only has two more years of his presidency."
Too soon? Howey, or his publicist ... must've thought so after the fact, since he eventually deleted the tweet, but the damage was done. Several of his followers retweeted it, and most of them found it offensive.
We reached out to Howey's rep ... so far, no word back.