The magazine's Internet counterpart, People Online, finally on Tuesday posted the results of its "Most Beautiful People" readers poll, won in a thundering 230,169-vote landslide by the diminutive guest of the Howard Stern show. The results, originally to have been posted last Friday, prove that if nothing else, Netizens certainly have a sense of humor.
When all was said and done, Hank -- also known as Henry Nasiff, 36, of Massachusetts -- generated a groundswell of support that made the 14,000-odd votes cast for film idol Leonardo DiCaprio look like chump change. (Leo came in third, losing the No. 2 spot to another unorthodox write-in choice, professional wrestler Ric Flair, who garnered 17,145 votes.)
Hank is scheduled to discuss his online triumph in a Web chat accessible on the People site and also on the Yahoo site tonight at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET)
The people's choice
At first a write-in candidate, Hank, known for his belligerent rants on Stern's TV and radio shows, ended up as one of the featured choices on the People site by the time he had amassed some 100,000 write-in votes.
Many Hank fans said in People message boards that their support of the self-professed devotee of "beer, tequila and Pamela Anderson" was fueled as much by a desire to mock the magazine and its celebrity-loving mission as anything else. People officials scrambled for a way to spin the popular uprising in their favor.
"Though we're hardly novices at handling online polls -- this was our sixth -- nothing could have prepared us for the agony, the ecstasy, and, well, the angry, drunken dwarf," People officials said in a statement on the site. "What began as an innocent bit of interactive online fun turned into a major media spectacle."
No cover for Hank
They hastened to add that in spite of rumors to the contrary, the winner of the online Most Beautiful People poll would not have appeared on the print magazine's cover no matter who it was, since that honor is reserved for the winner of their internal editors' choice poll.
"Unless he marries Pamela Anderson or joins Hanson, chances are Hank probably won't make the cover. But he's been sporting about all this attention and will always have a place in our hearts," People officials said in the statement.