Meek Mill has thousands of fans demanding his release from prison for a probation violation. Count among them a Slovenian snowboarder at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Tit Stante had #FreeMeekMill, a hashtag that has trended on social media for weeks, scrawled in permanent marker on his snowboard during the Olympic halfpipe qualifiers on Monday. He held up the board for the camera after his run.
Supporters of the incarcerated rapper tweeted about Stante spreading the message on the international stage.
The Philadelphia-born Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case, sparking calls for his release and criminal justice reform.
Mill's lawyers have unsuccessfully appealed the sentence multiple times and have called for Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley to recuse herself from the case. She handed down the prison term despite a recommended punishment from the Philadelphia District Attorney's office that did not include jail time.
Brinkley, who has overseen Mill's probation violation hearings for years since his initial conviction on drug and gun charges in 2008, said Mill "does what he wants" despite repeated warnings.
Since the ruling, Mill has skyrocketed to broader fame and become a symbol for critics of the criminal justice system, which they say unfairly targets African-Americans.
Most recently, The Philadelphia Eagles have expressed their support to Meek by playing his "Dreams and Nightmares" song. They came out at Super Bowl LII to the song's iconic beat switch, and rapped the song during their post-game locker room celebration after beating the New England Patriots 41-33.
Activists and musicians from Colin Kaepernick to Jay-Z have pointed to his jailing as representative of what they describe as the harsh treatment of blacks by the criminal justice system.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jay-Z said Mill’s case shows how the criminal justice system “entraps and harasses” African Americans.
“He has been on probation for basically his entire adult life. For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside,” Jay-Z wrote.
Rev. Al Sharpton who has met with the rapper in jail said, “If you can do something like this to a successful artist like Meek Mill, you can do this to many around the country."