While Jared Padalecki slaves away on the set of “Supernatural” in Vancouver, Canada, rumors are swirling about his involvement in a bizarre stunt that unfolded in New York City on Wednesday.
Not long after a young man — later identified as 19-year-old Steve from Virginia — began scaling Trump Tower in Midtown, Manhattan, viewers began noting a striking similarity between him and the actor. Padalecki, 34, took to Twitter where he acknowledged his doppelgänger, wishing him “the best of luck” on his ascent. The Texas native coined the hashtag “#BizarroJarpad,” expressing his deep confusion about the events unfolding in the Big Apple.
Padalecki’s response led some fans to believe he was confirming that it was him climbing the building, owned by presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump. He later took to Facebook to clarify, assuring fans that he was safe and sound in America’s neighbor country to the North.
“To clear things up, this is NOT me trying to scale the Trump Tower in NYC. I am safe and sound in Vancouver filming #Supernatural. So please stop asking,” he wrote, signing off with a wink.
Steve from Virginia — born Michael Joseph Ryan, who later changed his name to Stephen Rogata — began climbing Trump Tower around 3:15 p.m. EDT Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News. After being spotted on the side of the building, which he quickly moved up with the use of what appear to have been very strong suction cups, crowds gathered in the area surrounding the building. Before long authorities arrived on the scene, setting up inflatable landing bags to catch the climber should he fall. Several officers also entered the building, breaking through windows in the hopes of disrupting his move toward the top of the structure. Rogata was able to make it about 20 floors up before being forcibly removed from the side of the building by police officers. Much of the event was broadcast live on Facebook.
A video posted on YouTube prior to Rogata’s climb appears to explain his decision to scale the tower. The clip, titled “Message to Mr. Trump (why I climbed your tower),” stars a man believed to be Rogata explaining his actions in a 1:01-minute long video. In a strange turn of events, the unidentified man in the video calls on viewers to vote for Trump.
“I am an independent researcher seeking a private audience with your to discuss an important matter,” the man says. “I guarantee that it is in your interest to honor this request. Believe me, if my purpose was not significant, I would not risk my life pursuing it.”
It remains unclear whether legal action will be taken against Rogata.