Earlier this week, Jeremy Renner stunned fans with a tragic announcement. Due to desperate circumstances, he decided to shut down the official Jeremy Renner app after it was overtaken by pornography-obsessed trolls posing as the 48-year-old actor. Renner made the announcement via the app, in a message typed in a faux-handwriting font that I initially thought was Papyrus, but on closer inspection appears to be Bradley Hand.
“The app has jumped the shark. Literally,” Renner writes in the post, demonstrating an apparent misunderstanding of both the phrase “jumped the shark,” which implies the app was popular to begin with, and the word “literally.” He explains that the downfall was due to “clever individuals” impersonating him on the platform. “What was supposed to be a place for fans to connect with each other has turned into a place that is everything I detest or can’t and won’t condone,” Renner laments.
“How could this possibly be a real thing happening to an Academy Award-nominated actor?” you might wonder. “Are you sure the Bradley Hand post was not also written by one of the ‘clever individuals’ impersonating Renner?” More likely, you may not have known there was such a thing as the official Jeremy Renner app to begin with. But let me assure you that this is all very, very real, and it is just one small chapter in the Summer of Jeremy Renner’s Midlife Crisis.
The past few months have been a whirlwind for Renner. In April, he reprised his role as Marvel’s least interesting Avenger in Avengers: Endgame, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time. One would think that, in spite of the muted melancholia of living in Tony Stark’s looming shadow for seven years, he would be feeling pretty good about himself after such profound box office success.
Yet since Endgame, Renner has kept himself busy by attempting to launch a “rip-off Imagine Dragons music career,” as one Twitter user puts it, and starring in not one, not two, but three music video commercials for Jeep. The “Summer of Jeep” campaign features Renner doing his best country crooner impression in too-tight stonewashed jeans and an assortment of jackets with popped collars.
In one video, set to his song “Sign,” Renner dances amidst sand dunes and drives a shiny blue Jeep wrangler through the desert. His other songs are called “Nomad” and “Main Attraction,” and the accompanying videos exude similar, aggressively masculine dirty-tires-and-whiskey energy. The songs are not very good, but that is beside the point. With the release of four singles this summer alone, and the desperation of the sponsored music videos, Renner has joined the ranks of countless other critically favored actors who make the ill-fated decision to play out their rock star fantasies in middle age.
“Over the last decade or two,” writes Shawn Cooke for the Outline, “actors of a certain age—including, but not limited to, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Costner, Idris Elba, David Duchovny, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, and so many more—have covered similar ground. From afar, most of these men share a number of things in common: divorce, little discernible musical talent, and the protection fame can provide you from failure.” Renner is, at the very least, in good company.
In between shooting commercials, the wannabe rocker also found time this summer to indulge his hobby of selling camping equipment to strangers on the internet. The Jeremy Renner Store on Amazon is a one-stop-shop for all of your archery needs, featuring products like “Scout Youth Bow Set” and “Barnett Carbon Crossbow Arrows.” Customers can also stock up on sunscreen, flannels, and beef jerky. In one photo on the page, Renner sits over a campfire doing his best blue steel smolder, probably unwinding after a long day of off-roading in his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
No sign of crisis is more glaring, however, than the demise of the official Jeremy Renner app. Renner unveiled his app, developed by the company Escapex, in 2017 as a platform for sharing exclusive content and interacting directly with fans. With a feature allowing fans to earn and purchase stars to secure spots in top fan rankings, the app also served as a convenient way for Renner to earn a little extra cash. In the press release for “Jeremy Renner Official,” as the app was called, Renner said, “I’m always looking for new ways to connect directly with my fans all over the world in our own shared environment.”
According to a Deadspin article titled, “I Broke the Official Jeremy Renner App By Posting the Word ‘Porno’ On It,” Vancouver-based comedian Stefan Heck claims responsibility for the downfall of the fan hub. Essentially, Heck discovered that the format of the app’s push notifications makes it look like every message or comment reply is coming directly from Hawkeye himself. He first learned about this poorly conceived feature by jokingly commenting under a post on the app that he planned to spend his weekend “looking at porno on my computer,” to which one user (not Jeremy Renner) replied, “Nasty!! Not cool.” Because of the aforementioned oversight, it appeared in the notification as though Renner was directly disapproving of Heck’s affinity for porn.
Heck shared the amusing screenshots on Twitter and then unplugged for a weekend camping trip, unaware of the chaos he inadvertently triggered. “When I arrived back in civilization on a Sunday afternoon, the calm, welcoming landscape of the official Jeremy Renner app that I had grown to love over the past week appeared to have been irreversibly shattered,” Heck writes in the Deadspin article. “Dozens of false Renners had sprouted up, sowing chaos and pretending to like porno. Legitimate Renner fans were rightfully confused and terrified.”
And so came the end of an era. The Jeremy Renner Official app is no longer available for purchase in the Apple App Store, but at least now the actor has more time to focus on writing the next great pop rock song about four-wheel drive.