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Ken Barlow's KSTP billboard picture defaced with "slacker" tag [PHOTO]

By the looks of it, a vandal has a beef with Ken Barlow.
By the looks of it, a vandal has a beef with Ken Barlow.
Aaron Rupar

In October, KSTP meteorologist Ken Barlow spoke publicly for the first time about his struggle with bipolar disorder. Months later, an Uptown-area billboard featuring his likeness has been defaced with a "slacker" tag.

SEE ALSO: KSTP wants answers from Minneapolis police over cameraman shoving incident [VIDEO]

Coincidence, or does the graffiti allude to Barlow's condition? It isn't clear, but if there's no connection, then why was Dave Dahl's mug conspicuously exempted from defacement?

Passages from the October Pioneer Press piece where Barlow went public with his bipolar diagnosis suggest the graffiti could be related. For example:

[Before his diagnosis], [t]here were [times] when Barlow was so depressed he couldn't get out of bed. Some days, he had to drag himself to work...

Barlow said that when he was let go from WBZ in 2010, it was a cost-cutting move and had nothing to do with his diagnosis. He never told anyone there that he was bipolar.

But other parts of the article indicate that Barlow is anything but a "slacker":

[T]hrough it all, [Barlow] said his bipolar disorder never affected his work ethic. He hasn't missed a day on the job since his initial diagnosis in Boston.

"I've always had that focus like a laser when it comes to work because I love my job," Barlow said. "I know I have to do certain things like work and I feel so much better when I do them. It's kind of a medicine for me. Without that, it would be very difficult."

Perhaps the moral of the story is that it's simply a bad idea to install a billboard -- especially one directly across the street from Liquor Lyle's -- so low off the ground that anybody with a can of spray paint can climb up there and start vandalizing. After all, this is the exact same billboard that made headlines last fall when its "Vote Yes" on the marriage amendment message was defaced with pink paint.


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