The rumors are true: George Zimmerman is a painter now.
And his first creation, which was listed on EBay this week, has sparked a bidding war that has pushed its price up from a starting point of $0.99 to almost $100,000 as of Tuesday morning. It's a blue American flag featuring part of the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself," the EBay posting from user therealgeorgez reads. "I found a creative, way to express myself, my emotions and the symbols that represent my experiences. My art work allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors :-)"
FOR THE RECORD:
Zimmerman painting: In the Dec. 18 Section A, an article about a George Zimmerman painting for sale on EBay said that some bidders appeared to raise their bids even when they were already the high bidder, perhaps to boost the painting's price. In fact, those bids reflected an automated process in which the highest bidder's bid automatically increases —up to a preset maximum -- when others attempt to outbid him or her.
Thus continues the post-trial life of Zimmerman, 30, who has been unable to stay out of the news since he was acquitted of murder this summer after fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in 2012.
He's helped a family whose SUV crashed on the freeway. He's visited the factory that produced the gun he used to kill Martin. He's been detained, twice, on suspicion of threatening his wife, and then his girlfriend, with a gun. In the first instance he was never arrested, and in the second instance the felony charges against him were dropped when his girlfriend decided to reconcile.
And Zimmerman is also -- like Casey Anthony, the most famous Florida defendant before he came along -- in debt: In a legal filing for his most recent arrest, he claimed to be at least $2 million in debt, with no home and less than $150 in cash.
Which must make a $100,000 painting look awful pretty in its creator's eyes. Zimmerman's attorney, Jayne C. Weintraub of Miami, confirmed the authenticity of the EBay posting with the Los Angeles Times. "Yes, it is my client, George Zimmerman, selling his paintings," Weintraub said in an email.
[Updated 10:16 a.m. PDT Dec. 17: The work's originality, though, has already been questioned. Mediaite has posted side-by-side photos that show that Zimmerman's flag may have been copied from a Shutterstock photo of an American flag.]
Some of the bidding suggests that prospective buyers may be treating the painting like a form of a donation to Zimmerman: Several of the 98 bids thus far appear to be from users who keep submitting higher bids even when they're already on top.
Although Zimmerman was widely reviled after Martin's shooting, especially among African American communities around the country, he has had his supporters. When awaiting trial, a website set up for his defense apparently crashed because got so many visitors while managing to collect more than $130,000 in donations from the public.
Those supporters, though, have largely remained out of public view. The EBay bidding for Zimmerman's painting is also private, though Zimmerman has used it as a platform to shout out to his fans.
"Just wanted to tell you we all love you and stand behind you. You have so many people on your side I hope you know that!" one user posted.
"Thank you so much for the words of kindness and support. I do know how many great Americans are still here, I run into at least 3-5 a day that go out of their way to tell me the same," Zimmerman replied. He ended his message with the signoff, "Your Friend, GZ."
Bidding was scheduled to end Saturday.