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Netflix's new true crime doc The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is one of its most shocking yet

Ali Condon

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Netflix's new true crime doc The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is one of its most shocking yet

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

You might recognise Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker from his 15 minutes of internet fame back in 2013 when a video of his TV interview went viral.

The homeless hitchhiker, real name Caleb McGillvary, shot to fame when he claimed to Fox affiliate KMPH that he saved a woman from a violent attacker, who he had been picked up by while hitchhiking.

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As soon as his interview aired, the internet went wild and the video earned millions upon millions of views.

People fell for who they saw as a sweet, surfer dude, and it wasn't long before he started appearing all over TV screens - including a spot on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

In the viral video, he told cameras: "No matter what you've done, you deserve respect. Even if you've made mistakes, you're loveable," before describing the attack he had witnessed.

Kai, or Caleb, claimed he was initially picked up by Jett Simmons McBride, someone he describes as being 300 pounds and claimed to be Jesus Christ.

When McBride crashed his car and lunged at a bystander who came over to help, Kai says he stepped in with his hatchet to stop the driver from hurting the woman.

He described using the weapon with the words 'smash, smash, s-mash', a moment in the clip that went on to become the subject of countless memes.

But, as the Netflix documentary shows, when the media industry finally got a hold of Kai, he didn't exactly turn out to be the famous face they had hoped for.

In May 2013, he was arrested for the murder of 73-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy Jr.

Kai quickly rose to viral fame after his interview. Credit: KMPH
Kai quickly rose to viral fame after his interview. Credit: KMPH

Although the hitchhiker initially claimed he was the victim of sexual assault, he was ultimately found guilty of the charge and is now serving a 57-year prison sentence.

At the end of the documentary, friends of Galfy speculated as to whether the media created a celebrity in Kai 'without doing their homework'.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is currently number two on the Netflix UK charts and has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The true crime documentary has viewers reflecting on the pitfalls of internet stardom, and analysing just how exploitative the entertainment industry can be.

"This Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker documentary is mental," tweeted one viewer. "You can tell from the go that guy is not all there but networks saw dollar signs all over him and egged him on instead of finding him the help he desperately needed - which wasn’t money and fame - offline."

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

A second wrote: "Just finished watching Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker on Netflix. Can’t believe it’s almost been 10 years. Disgusting to see how quick TV producers wanted to make money off him, but no one wanted to help him… so sad."

And a third commented: "This is probably an oversimplification but that Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker doc on Netflix shows that so much of internet culture is a PLAGUE upon humanity."

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is available to stream now on Netflix.

Topics: Netflix, TV And Film, True Crime

Ali Condon
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