A Film by Nanette Burstein ‘Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee’ McAfee's bizarre life in Belize
By Web Desk, theweek.in June 24, 2021
His story is a very enlightening and important one; Burstein tells it well. -Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Gringo: The Dangerous Life Of John McAfee is a testimony to the rewards of methodical, old-fashioned investigative reporting. -- Allan Hunter, Screen International
Filmmaker Nanette Burstein tries to unravel the strange behavior of John McAfee, who left his life as a software mogul to become a recluse in the jungles of Belize.
John David McAfee (75), the founder of the anti-virus software marketed under his name, was found dead at a Spanish prison on Thursday.
McAfee's stormy life was the subject of a 2016 documentary film Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee.
The documentary focuses on the part of McAfee's life in Central American country of Belize. He moved to Belize in 2008. In April 2012, national police raided McAfee's estate based on suspicions of drug manufacture, trafficking. Later that year, McAfee's neighbour Greg Faull was murdered and McAfee went into hiding before crossing the border to Guatemala and being deported back to the United States. The documentary suggests that McAfee was involved in the murder due to a feud between him and Faull over McAfee's dogs.
McAfee was being held in prison in Spain awaiting extradition to the United States where he feared he would die behind bars (Image: John McAfee)
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nanette Burstein, who directed the film, was intrigued by the tech trailblazer's eccentric lifestyle. She travelled to Belize to interview locals, employees, gangsters, and many of the teenage girlfriends McAfee kept, according to a report by The Daily Beast. Some of those young women, who say they accepted McAfee’s financial support in exchange for living with him as his girlfriends, also shared details about McAfee's scandalous sex life- -some of which is featured in the documentary.
The software founder was often outspoken on tech issues (Image: AFP/Getty Images)
The documentary also featured an account by Allison Adonizio, a biologist who believes McAfee drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was working for him on a pharmaceutical project. Multiple news reports claimed he wanted to research bacteria and develop life-saving antibiotics while in Belize.
However, McAfee was never charged with any crime in Belize and at the time he described the documentary as fiction.
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McAfee sought to run for US president for the Libertarian Party last year. He was indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion charges and was also charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York.
On 23 June 2021, McAfee was found dead in his prison cell at the Brians 2 Penitentiary Center near Barcelona, hours after the Spanish National Court ordered his extradition to the United States on criminal charges filed in Tennessee by the United States Department of Justice Tax Division. The Catalan Justice Department said "everything indicates" he killed himself by hanging.
McAfee had gone on the run from a string of allegations including tax evasion charges (Image: Zuma/REX/Shutterstock)
McAfee's death sparked Internet conspiracy theories in a manner resembling "Epstein didn't kill himself". Several times, he had said if he were ever found dead by hanging, it would mean he was murdered.
Three days before McAfee's death, his wife claimed that the US government wanted him to die in prison, writing on Twitter: "John’s honesty has often gotten him in trouble with corrupt governments and corrupt government officials because of his outspoken nature and his refusal to be extorted, intimidated or silenced. Now the US authorities are determined to have John die in prison to make an example of him for speaking out against the corruption within their government agencies."
Minutes after the report of his death, an image of the letter Q was posted to his Instagram feed (since he died, his account was taken down), possibly in reference to QAnon conspiracy theories.
These theories have been referred to by some journalists as speculative, "bizarre", and "baseless", primarily based on McAfee's own statements.
The day after his death, his lawyer told reporters that while he regularly maintained contact with McAfee in prison, there were no signs of suicidal intent.
McAfee's widow reaffirmed this position in her first public remarks since her husband's death.