US Senator Bernie Sanders' mitten-clad look on President Joe Biden's inauguration day, spiralled a memefest on Twitter. So loved is the look that it has raised $1.8 million (Rs 13,16,07,900) for charity over the past five days through sales of merchandise featuring him wearing knit mittens and a parka.
Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday "Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we're glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,"
Sanders' office said the groups receiving charitable funds include the Vermont operations of Meals on Wheels and the Vermont Parent Child Network.
After Sanders' look trended on the internet for days, an American woman, Tobey King put her crocheting skills to use and tapped into the memefest, creating a doll resembling Sanders' inauguration day look. That doll fetched a whooping price of $20,300, with King donating all proceeds towards Meals on Wheels in Vermont.
The first batch of the 'Chairman Sanders' merchandise sold out 30 minutes after the items including sweatshirts and T-shirts were made available online on Thursday. There is now a weeks-long backlog of orders.
The image of a cross-legged Sanders wearing a light blue mask and seated alone at the inauguration was captured by AFP photographer Brendan Smialowski.
According to Sanders' office, as part of the licensing agreement to put the image on apparel and stickers, Getty Images, the agency that distributes AFP images in the United States, will donate its proceeds from the license to Meals on Wheels America.