In March 2017, Professor Robert Kelly unwittingly became the most famous face in the world for a period of about three days.
As a regional expert from the Political Science and Diplomacy Department of Pusan National University in South Korea, Kelly was being interviewed by the BBC – live, might we add – about the ousting of the country’s president, Park Geun-hye.
Within moments, he went from a niche face on the BBC to one plastered across every major news site, every major social media feed and became the subject of every water cooler conversation.
Kelly’s four-year-old daughter Marion had swaggered her way into his study with the innocence and confidence of a child who has no idea she will soon become the internet’s most popular meme. Right behind her was her little brother, James.
Now, in an interview with The Guardian nearly a year after the main event, Kelly has offered insight of sorts about what really happened that day.
For one, he told the news outlet, he could see what was going on the entire time. His wife, Jung-a Kim, was trying to film the interview on their TV in the living room. The children slipped her line of sight. On his own screen, Kelly could see the minute the door opened.
“I could see the picture on my screen and so immediately saw that Marion had come in behind me,” he said.
“I couldn’t understand why the BBC was carrying on with the interview. Maybe they realised right away that this was comedy gold.”
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In that moment, he thought his career was over.
“We both assumed that was the end of my career as a talking head,” he says. “I thought I’d blown it in front of the whole world.”
Within an hour, a BBC News Producer had asked if the video was allowed online. Initially, Kelly had his reservations. Would this, he asked the producer, be the "kinda thing that goes ‘viral’ and gets weird"?
More than they ever could have anticipated.
“For two weeks we were the most famous family on earth,” he said, adding "it's still weird".
"It’s nice to think we made people happy, but it’s not really the kind of thing you’d ask for."