Florida Man is an Internet meme, popularized in 2013, in which the phrase "Florida Man" is taken from various unrelated news articles describing people who hail from or live in Florida. Internet users typically submit links to news stories and articles about unusual or strange crimes or events occurring in Florida, particularly those where "Florida Man" is mentioned in the headline and has been wreaking havoc amongst social media. The story calls attention to Florida's supposed notoriety for strange and unusual events. Miami New Times claimed that freedom of information laws in Florida make it easier for journalists to obtain information about arrests from the police than in other states and that this is responsible for the large number of news articles. A CNN article on this meme suggests that the breadth of reports of bizarre Florida Man activities is due to a confluence of factors including public records laws giving journalists fast and easy access to police reports, the relatively high and diverse population of the state, highly variable weather, and the lack of mental health funding.
The meme was originated in February 2013 by the Twitter feed @_FloridaMan, which quoted news headlines containing the words Florida man, such as "Florida man run over by van after dog pushes accelerator" or "Police arrest Florida man for drunken joy ride on motorized scooter at Wal-Mart." The feed refers to Florida Man as the "World's Worst Superhero."
Florida already had a colorful reputation on the Internet, with the social aggregation site Fark having had a Florida tag for years before the Florida Man Twitter feed appeared. After the creation of the Twitter feed in January 2013, and its simultaneous popularization on social media sites such as Reddit and Tumblr (initially through the subreddit r/FloridaMan and the Tumblr blog StuckInABucket), the meme was featured in numerous news articles and stories throughout February 2013.
Florida Man was also referred to in the opening episode of Season 2 of the FX show Atlanta as a sinister entity, referred to by Darius as an “Alt-right Johnny Appleseed,” who commits a variety of strange crimes in Florida as part of a plot to keep black voters out, portrayed by Kevin Waterman.
A play titled "Florida Man" by Michael Presley Bobbitt premiered July 31, 2019, at New York's Theatre Row Studios.
In 2019, a variation developed on social media in which people were encouraged to look up "Florida Man" and the date of their birthday, typically finding some bizarre occurrence involving a Florida Man on that date.
On October 31, 2019, president Donald Trump according to sources, was changing his residence from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida, which is the location of the Mar-a-Lago resort he owns and frequently visits. Sources joked about the POTUS becoming Florida Man, including The Daily Show, which released an extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that changes all instances of Trump's name to "Florida Man."
The meme has widely been seen as a confirmation of the association between Florida and bizarre or humorous activity, and it has been compared to the Darwin Awards. There has been backlash to the meme, with the Columbia Journalism Review calling it "one of journalism’s darkest and most lucrative cottage industries" where "stories tend to stand as exemplars of the mythical hyper-weirdness of the Sunshine State, but more often simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless."
- Siegel, Robert (February 14, 2013). "'Florida Man' On Twitter Collects Real Headlines About World's Worst Superhero". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- Kyle Munzenrieder (May 12, 2015). "How Florida's Proud Open Government Laws Lead to the Shame of "Florida Man" News Stories". Miami New Times.
- Lou, Michelle; Orjoux, Alanne (March 22, 2019). "Googling 'Florida man' is the latest internet fad. Let's explore why so many crazy stories come out of the state". CNN.
- Lacapria, Kim (February 21, 2013). "Florida Man Is Twitter's 'Worst Superhero'". Social News Daily. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Zimmerman, Neetzan (February 11, 2013). "'Florida Man' Personifies Everything That's Messed Up About Florida". Gawker Media. Gawker. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Davis, Lauren (February 10, 2013). "Florida Man is the nation's worst superhero". Gawker Media. io9. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- FX Networks (March 2, 2018). Atlanta | Season 2 Ep. 1: Florida Man Scene | FX. Retrieved September 14, 2018 – via YouTube.
- Comedy Central (November 2, 2018). Who is “Florida Man”? Desi Lydic Investigates. The Daily Show. Retrieved February 10, 2019 – via YouTube.
- Cohen, Howard. "'Sunshine State has weirdness for everyone.' So he's taking 'Florida Man' Off-Broadway". miamiherald. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- Haberman, Maggie (October 31, 2019). "Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Axelrod, Tal (October 31, 2019). "Trump changes primary residence to Florida". TheHill. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Hannon, Elliot (November 1, 2019). "Donald Trump Is Officially a Florida Man". Slate Magazine. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Allison, Bill; Parker, Mario (November 25, 2019). "Trump, Now a Florida Man, Makes Home State Center of Campaign". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Darrah, Nicole (November 5, 2019). "'Florida man' browser extension pokes fun at Trump, Sunshine State". Fox News. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Holt, Kris (February 8, 2013). ""Florida Man" is pretty much the worst person ever". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Norman, Bob (May 30, 2019). "Who Is Florida Man?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved November 1, 2019.