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Man who went on the run with John McAfee says software tycoon was 'one of the kindest men' he's ever known

Jess Hardiman

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Man who went on the run with John McAfee says software tycoon was 'one of the kindest men' he's ever known

A man who was invited to go on the run with John McAfee has revealed what the eccentric millionaire was really like – admitting he found him to be ‘one of the kindest men’ he has ever known. 

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McAfee was best known for his antivirus software of the same name, which he created in 1987 after being employed at companies such as NASA, Xerox and Lockheed Martin, and ultimately sold to Intel.  

After making his fortune and moving to Belize, in 2012 he became wanted on suspicion of murder following the death of his neighbour Gregory Faull and decided to go on the run in Guatemala – inviting two Vice journalists, Rocco Castoro and Robert King, to come along and document his journey. 

At the time, the two shared a photo of McAfee with Castoro, with a message on the Vice website saying: “We are with John McAfee right now, suckers.” 

The only problem was that the photo posted contained crucial geo-data, meaning McAfee’s location had essentially been inadvertently leaked. 

McAfee was wanted for the murder of neighbour Gregory Faull. Credit: Netflix
McAfee was wanted for the murder of neighbour Gregory Faull. Credit: Netflix

Their story features in a new Netflix documentary, Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee, which shows what happened in the wake of the murder – which, to this day, remains unsolved – and McAfee’s many clashes with other countries’ authorities that followed. 

After going on the run again to dodge US tax evasion charges, McAfee called up King and invited him to join him on his private yacht, allowing the photojournalist unprecedented access to his day-to-day life. 

Speaking to LADbible, King said this period unfurled into a time of intense paranoia – not only for McAfee and his wife Janice, but also for the entourage on board, who were often subjected to the chaos of the couple's drug binges.

Robert King. Credit: Netflix
Robert King. Credit: Netflix

From going to the toilet in the middle of the night during rough seas, worried that you may fall overboard without a trace, through to constantly feeling on edge from McAfee randomly discharging his firearms inside the boat, King said there were many reasons to be afraid.

The cameraman, who has 30 years of experience as a war correspondent, said: “The alcohol, the guns, the yelling, the screaming, the shooting... You’re just like, ‘What the f**k? Could you at least give us a heads up if you’re going to shoot the gun?’.” 

He added: “It brought back a lot of war memories.” 

King said McAfee would regularly shoot his gun randomly inside the boat. Credit: Netflix
King said McAfee would regularly shoot his gun randomly inside the boat. Credit: Netflix

But in spite of this, King found the experience was also an enjoyable one, in many ways. 

When asked what his lasting impression of McAfee was after such a turbulent chapter, he said: “It's hard to answer, because I spent so much time with him. And there was so much love for him, and he wasn't charged with any crimes.  

“I saw him at his best. He's elderly, he's getting vulnerable, he's still intelligent. And when you're vulnerable, and slower, kindness is a weapon too. And so I was bombarded with his arrows of kindness in some ways. 

“He would say some weird [things], you know, ‘Why are you always poor? Blah, blah, blah'. I mean, he said some worse stuff than that. 

“But I'm not there to be his friend. I'm there to film. I don't care if he likes me or not.  

“I care if he's angry and shuts down the production, yeah – then boy, am I in trouble. But I wasn't.” 

McAfee with wife Janice. Credit: Netflix
McAfee with wife Janice. Credit: Netflix

He continued: “It was fun. I mean, who else can you call [and say] ‘Hey, John, I found a body tracker on me in Dresden when I’m going to pick up the photographs?'. And, ‘Hey John, I’ve got an optical alphabet that allows us to speak silently and it looks like a montage edit'.

“Who else can you talk to [and say], ‘John, when can we figure out how to have a patch to give automated time codes, when I ingest the video file into my computer? You know, because once I have an automated timecode, I can edit in any language of the world'.

“So, who am I going to be able to talk to? And he understood it? He understood the media, he had obviously basic understanding of code.” 

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

King spoke surprisingly fondly of McAfee, who was found dead in his Barcelona prison cell shortly after Spanish authorities approved his extradition to the US. 

“I've found him to be one of the kindest men I've ever known," he said.

“And I say that because he allowed me a second chance to clear my name when the blame of the geo-data leak was placed upon me and Rocco – and really it was me, being the photographer, but it followed us all.  

“And so that's why I would say he's a kind man.

"The verbal abuse was consistent, but I never saw him hit someone, I never saw him abuse his dogs.” 

He added: “We were too worried for our own lives to get offended. I mean, it was pretty crazy.” 

Watch Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee on Netflix now. 

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: TV and Film, Documentaries

Jess Hardiman
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