Infamous "Target Troll" Originally from the Chippewa Valley

Mike Paulus

Mike Melgaard Image:

You've probably seen this story floating around the internet and your Facebook feed: Man Poses as Target on Facebook, Trolls Haters of Its Gender-Neutral Move With Epic Replies. That's AdWeek's headline, but you'll find the story on Mashable, Buzzfeed, Today, Time, Paste, and countless others. Basically, in response to a flood of hateful comments and threats of boycotts after Target's decision to remove gender labeling from its toy and bedding aisles, a man named Mike Melgaard began replying to the comments – left by people on Target's Facebook page – pretending to be a Target customer service representative. (All he did was create an account using a target profile picture and the user name "Ask ForHelp," and people assumed they were talking to an official Target rep.)

Melgaard maintained his sarcastic, humorous interactions with outraged shoppers for about 16 hours this week, commenting on about 50 posts until his account was shut down. The story of Melgaard's trolling blew up on Friday (8/14), as a multitude of sites posted screenshots of the conversations. Like so:

Homegrown Troller?

Well, as it turns out Mike Melgaard's name might sound familiar to some of you – he's originally from the Chippewa Valley, having graduated from Altoona High School. He no longer lives in the area.

As to how it all started, Melgaard said this to AdWeek:

“Immediately, I knew there would be your typical outraged American spouting emotional reactions on their Facebook page. After taking a look, I was literally laughing out loud at my computer. A few more minutes in and it struck me how hilarious it would be to portray myself as a parody customer service rep.”

They add, "… on Thursday night, Target offered a pretty clear endorsement of Melgaard's antics by posting this genious photo to Facebook—an ode to trolls if ever there was one."

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