The man sitting behind CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper stole the show for some viewers of Wednesday night’s second GOP debate, with many social media users wondering who the #HotDebateGuy is.
CBS News says they’ve uncovered the answer, identifying the “unlikely star” as Greg Caruso, the 24-year-old son of billionaire California real estate developer Rick Caruso. The elder Caruso founded Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the country, and is active in Los Angeles politics.
Here’s what you need to know about the #HotDebateGuy:
1. He Has Been Called the ‘Debate’s Real Winner’
CNN tracked down Caruso, who, despite his new-found popularity on social media, doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook account. He told CNN he heard about the attention he was getting via texts from friends.
“It’s pretty hilarious,” Caruso told. “Social media can focus on some guy at the debate instead of the debate.”
Caruso said he’s a fan of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, but hasn’t picked a favorite candidate in the 2016 primary field.
“I think out of everyone, (Bush) improved the most from the first debate,” Caruso told CNN. “Carly Fiorina did a great job and was in her element. That was the highlight of the debate to watch her. She held her own.”
2. He Was a High School Football Star
He was named to the All-Alpha League team in 2009 as a defensive back, according to Pasadena Prep Sports.
3. He Graduated From the USC Film School & Was a Walk-On Football Player
Gregory Caruso graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2014.
While at USC, Caruso also was a member of the Trojans football team. He is listed on the USC roster as a 6-2, 170 pound safety, but doesn’t appear to have played in any games.
Caruso says on his Vimeo page:
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and always had an interest in film from a young age, specifically the post-war black-and-whites and westerns I would watch with my father. I have a true appreciation for the history of film, specifically The Golden Age of Cinema from 1925-1950 and film noir. I believe some of the most inspirational, meticulously stylized, artistically crafted way of story telling, flourished especially after World War II, in the 1940s. I have taken several courses and researched in detail such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, and John Ford in hopes of continuing their mark on film and story telling. I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my life with my family and feel I have a global appreciation for art, architecture, culture, and film in general. Filmmaking for me comes most naturally and creatively with the help of other mediums such as literature and painting. I plan to create relatable but unique, provocative but real, and stylized but refined films that positively inspire people in a meaningful way.
4. He Directed a Documentary About American Masculinity
After graduating from USC, Caruso and four other recent film school grads came together to make a documentary about American masculinity, “explored through the makers of U.S. produced goods for men,” according to an Indiegogo fundraiser page for the project.
Caruso was the director of the documentary, called Making the American Man (watch the trailer above).
According to the Indiegogo page, “Our crew of five recent film school grads is traveling across the United States interviewing a variety of small business owners who specialize in American made products for men in order to shed light on the modern age of American masculinity, the value of American made goods, and where these two topics intersect.”
Caruso and his fellow filmmakers are currently getting the first cut of the documentary together, according to the film’s Facebook page.
5. His Relationship Status Still Hasn’t Been Uncovered
While the Internet was quick to reveal the identity of #HotDebateGuy, his relationship status is still unknown and he declined to comment on it when asked by CNN. But based on some of the tweets posted about him, there are many people interested in finding out if he is single.
Though a few people did disagree about his hotness: