Yesterday morning, Adam Rippon got a rude message from an anonymous Twitter account. "You have shown to all just what a complete I.D.I.O.T you are!" wrote Grumpygrampa22. "You're an embarrassment!" Here's the bad news for Grumpygrampa22: Unless he meant to insult a 37-year-old game designer in Oakland, California, he got the wrong Adam Rippon.
Left: Adam Rippon (courtesy Rippon). Right: Adam Rippon (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
For the past few days, US figure skater Adam Rippon has dominated the headlines in America, winning medals and making a name for himself as the first openly gay US Winter Olympian. This has been fun, if a little confusing, for game developer Adam Rippon, who designed a series of quirky indie RPGs called Dragon Fantasy and is now working on the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection at the studio Digital Eclipse.
In fact, the lesser-known Adam Rippon says he's having a blast.
"[I] love it," Rippon told me via text chat yesterday. "I might get tired of the constant tweets if they keep up for more than a few weeks, but I'm having fun with it so far! Like Reese Witherspoon tweeting about Adam Rippon made my year."
Game designer Adam Rippon says he first encountered figure skater Adam Rippon on Myspace about a decade ago. "It's hazy, but I remember our conversation as being a 'Hey, I'm Adam Rippon! No way! I'm Adam Rippon! I make video games! I figure skate! Wow we're both so different lol!' kind of chat," he said. "Seemed like a real nice kid, and he had Olympic aspirations even then as I recall."
The reason Twitter accounts such as Grumpygrampa22 are sending nasty messages Rippon's way is because Olympian Adam Rippon has criticised the White House, particularly vice president Mike Pence, for homophobic policies. Pence, an Olympic delegate for the US, has long been against gay rights and has reportedly supported gay conversion therapy.
That might explain why game designer Adam Rippon is getting messages such as "are all gays as hateful as you two?" (meant for skater Adam Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy).
"It's been pretty fun, though," said video game Rippon. "I love what he stands for, I LOVE that he's getting in fights with Mike Pence. And damn dude, he can skate like crazy."
Game designer Rippon says he hasn't been confused for the figure skater in real life yet - "Adam Rippon's body is like that of some sort of atomic-powered sex cheetah, and mine is like a potato-powered sex sloth, clearly different people" - but he is considering wearing a figure-skating outfit to the Game Developers Conference next month. He also wants to meet skating Rippon - and wear his medal for a few seconds.
"If he ever does want to do a figure skating game, I totally call dibs on making it," he said.