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Atlanta's 11 Least Influential People: No. 10

Creative Loafing’s countdown of Atlanta’s 11 Least Influential People is a tribute to women and men everywhere struggling to meet the challenges of life in a modern American city.

No. 10 — Benny Herman Allen III



Gets a lot less attention than his white, female alleged co-conspirators



(Photo courtesy Cobb County Sheriff's Office)

Being white, female and at least moderately attractive under ideal lighting conditions has its privileges.

If something bad happens to you, say you go missing or you’re victimized in some way, you’re a lot more likely to have your face end up on the news than if you’re black or male.

When white Gwinnett County resident Jennifer Wilbanks went missing in 2005, the national news media came a-callin’ — even after it was clear she wasn’t kidnapped or killed but in fact was simply un-RSVPing from her own nightmare wedding.

Wilbanks is thoroughly unlikable, and because of her deceptions, a criminal. Yet the media still lapped her up.

Benny Herman Allen III deserves to be just as (in)famous as Jennifer Wilbanks.

A one-time bank teller, the 22-year-old is alleged to have been an “inside man” during the Bank of America robbery that turned Heather Johnston and Ashley Miller — two white, suburban strippers — into media sensations dubbed the "Barbie Bandits."

Johnston and Miller became celebrities in both the tabloid and “serious” media. Miller’s mom was widely quoted saying her daughter had fallen in with the “wrong crowd,” while Johnston laughed her way through multiple appearances on ABC.

And poor Benny Herman Allen III?

His alleged role in the incident is a footnote. That he was released from jail with a bond paid for by a Cartersville outfit called Bond James Bond is the only interesting thing ever reported about him. And I’m the one who just reported it.

No one ever quoted his family members explaining he was just a good kid who fell in with bad strippers. He didn’t even get a catchy nickname. If Miller and Johnston are Barbies, why can’t Allen be Ken?

I mean, Alleged Ken.

Visit Fresh Loaf Sunday morning for No. 9 on our countdown of Atlanta’s 11 Least Influential People.



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