Before he got his make-up plate, Robert Heppler and his friends sent pictures of clever plates they saw around town in their group chat. It made him wonder what he was going to say. “You want to excite the world,” he said. “You want to shock. You want to be sensational. “
He pondered, then declined a couple of options – a call to “NVR4GT” 9/11, a “NOTPOOR” record that he decided sounded “really presumptuous” – before settling on Keith’s name Raniere-led sex cult ruled just as the news of sexual abuse allegations broke. He took a screenshot of the mock-up and sent it to the group chat.
“Everyone I’ve shown this to has died; they said, ‘This is hilarious,’ ”he said. “And I felt because it was so early, because the films hadn’t come out yet, that they couldn’t ban it.”
Heppler’s provocative humor didn’t translate well. As awareness of NXIVM rose, the reactions to the record grew angrier. “I don’t know if molested is the right word, but you know in the movie ‘Inception’ when the whole population starts turning them on when they’re in their dreams?” He said. “I’ll see your eyes read it, and then I’ll see your brain say, ‘Oh my god, this is driving me crazy.'”
People take photos and fade them in, someone left a bag of dog poop on their windshield, their driver’s side mirror was smashed (this could have been a coincidence), and he suspects a woman was in a car accident when she tried to get one Photo of him making plate. The turning point came when his son’s private school parents complained about the license plate and his car was banned from campus.
He’s about to get a new record, a nod to Orlando Magic player Mo Bamba and the Sheck Wes hit named after him. Heppler liked the idea of a professional athlete taking to the pitch on his first day to one of the greatest songs in the world, a song that happens to be about him. “I don’t know if that has ever happened in the history of time,” he said, adding, “Anyway, I thought it was a little less scandalous and that I won’t let my windows down.” – AJ