How a fake Keanu Reeves convinced a Kansas woman to abandon her dream of being president

By: - October 5, 2023 4:56 pm
Joan Farr answers questions during an interview Sept, 30, 2023, at Sunflower Cafe in Lawrence.

Joan Farr answers questions during an interview Sept, 30, 2023, at Sunflower Cafe in Lawrence. Farr’s campaign for president hinged on support from the actor Keanu Reeves — but after $9,000 in Bitcoin transfers, she reached the conclusion that she had been scammed by a CIA poser. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

LAWRENCE — Joan Farr knew she had been conned before Keanu Reeves brushed her off after his concert last week in Lawrence.

After months of online correspondence, $9,000 in Bitcoin transfers and a confrontation with her family, she understood the individual who promised to endorse her presidential campaign and even be her date for her high school reunion wasn’t really the famous actor. She had been betrayed by a CIA poser once again.

This is common territory for Farr, who received 57,000 votes when she ran against Sam Brownback in the 2010 GOP primary for governor, and 93,000 votes when she challenged U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in last year’s GOP primary. A federal judge has dismissed a series of lawsuits in which she blames a vast conspiracy for her suffering and setbacks.

Farr recounted her experience with the fake Reeves and her short, sad presidential campaign in an interview she requested with Kansas Reflector — and a five-page written statement she provided after the interview.

“I am finally done with my ongoing battle of trying to get into government, thanks to Keanu,” Farr said. “I feel like our country is so messed up, I’m just going to go live a peaceful life and wait for Jesus.”

“At least Keanu was able to make his suffering end by telling them to kill him off in the last movie,” she added. “My saga is never-ending, since I am not a rich and famous person who can wave a magic wand and make it happen. I am more like a speck of dust on the hind leg of a flea on the hind leg of a dog, and not even Keanu’s dog at that.”


Pop star Taylor Swift reacts during the first half of a football game
Joan Farr’s platform for president includes making Taylor Swift the secretary of youth and inspiration. (Jason Hanna/Getty Images)

A Camelot 2.0

Farr dreamed of joining Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a third-party alternative to the inevitable rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election.

Like RFK Jr., Farr refuses to believe the avalanche of credible evidence that shows the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

There’s another reason she believes they would be natural running mates. The way Farr sees it, President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for killing both her father and RFK Jr.’s uncle.

The 68-year-old Derby resident says her father died on a suicide mission in Vietnam when she was 11 years old. Her political ambitions are rooted in her efforts to obtain a medal of honor for her father.

Farr envisioned a “Camelot 2.0,” in which she would provide reparations for families who lost a loved one from COVID-19 or the vaccines, remove innocent people like herself from the terrorist watch list, and introduce a “justice amendment” to the U.S. Constitution that would level the playing field between the rich and poor.

She had plans to solve debt and homelessness, in part by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. She would finish building the wall along the southern border. Anyone convicted of robbing merchants or destroying public property, such as statues and monuments, would be incarcerated for two years in a foreign country. Capital murder cases would be resolved within 30 days.

The CIA would be reassigned to help people.

“How is starting wars Christian?” she said.

She would make Taylor Swift the secretary of youth and inspiration.

And she would seek a U.N. directive, agreed to by all countries, to stop engaging in AI technology — “for the sake of mankind.”

But first, she needed a hot date.


Dogstar Visits The SiriusXM Studio
Keanu Reeves performs with his band Dogstar on Sept. 22, 2023, at SiriusXM Studios in Los Angeles. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for ABA)

The 4-H club

The widowed Farr abandoned hopes of finding love after her boyfriend left her for a much younger woman — a CIA plant, she believes — during the pandemic.

By January, she wasn’t looking for a relationship, but she wanted a companion for her 50th high school class reunion. She asked herself about the qualities she likes in a man. He would need to be kind, gentle, faithful and in the 4-H club — handsome, humble, honest and honorable. Other than her father, the only man she could think of with those qualities was Reeves, the famous actor.

Farr said she tried to contact Reeves through his website in January but got no response. So she tracked him down via Google in February and was thrilled when he agreed to be her date. Their relationship blossomed as they corresponded by email every few days.

“God seemed to be giving me a lot of signs that he was truly ‘the one,’ and I thought he must be my heart-and-soul mate,” Farr said.

To prepare for his visit, she tried to learn how to cook vegan food, stocked expensive coffee beans in her freezer, and “there was also the unending effort to try and look as good as I could.”

“That meant exercising daily to stay toned, getting some age spots removed, using Crest whitening strips, growing my lashes longer, finding the best tanning cream and scouring the internet for just the right little black dress,” Farr said. “And of course, I had to find some pajamas that were in good taste, since I felt he liked modest women.”

Those efforts were offset in May when she needed surgery to remove a cancerous patch of skin from her face, and the scar didn’t heal well.

She also felt uncomfortable when the individual she believed was Reeves asked her to make monthly contributions to his children’s charity via Bitcoin, which she knew would be untraceable. But he assured her she would receive a statement with all of her donations at the end of the year. She usually donates to nine charities, she said, but she cut them off in favor of Reeves.

Farr went to see Reeves in August when his rock band, Dogstar, performed in Denver. She spotted him in an alleyway.

“Keanu! Keanu!” she shouted.

He looked puzzled.

“It’s me, Joan. Kansas? Cowboy hat? Running for president?”

He pondered this for a moment.

“Well, enjoy the show,” he said.

After she drove back home, she emailed him to let express her disappointment that he had been unkind.

“At this point, I was thinking I was surely being scammed, but he came back with a convincing excuse,” Farr said. “He said that he gets nervous before he goes on stage and was taking some time to collect himself, and didn’t realize it was me. It was plausible enough, but my radar was up and I was becoming more skeptical.”


Joan Farr says she had to "pull out all the stops" with her campaign flyer because she can't get any publicity. She is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in the GOP primary in Kansas. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)
When she ran for U.S. Senate in both Kansas and Oklahoma, Joan Farr said she had to “pull out all the stops” with her campaign flyer because she couldn’t get any publicity. (Thad Allton for Kansas Reflector)

A vast conspiracy

Farr traces her suffering to clandestine CIA operations and an array of government officials who work to undermine her campaigns for public office.

Last year, when she took advantage of a loophole that allowed her to file for U.S. Senate races in two states, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma tried to have her committed to a mental health institution, she claimed. And she believes Moran schemed with Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab to flip votes.

Throughout the Aug. 2, 2022, primary election night in Kansas, the margin in preliminary tallies between Farr and Moran barely changed — an indicator to Farr that someone was controlling the outcome. In the end, 19.5% of Republican voters in Kansas had cast a ballot for Farr.

Farr sued Inhofe, Moran, Schwab, the CIA, the FBI and the IRS, along with various other state and federal entities, after her stinging defeats in both Oklahoma and Kansas. She represented herself in the case, as she had done with two previous lawsuits that had been dismissed earlier in 2022.

The CIA, according to her unsubstantiated allegations, had placed her under constant surveillance and infected a close family member with COVID-19, in addition to stealing her boyfriend.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in a 24-page ruling in June dismissed Farr’s case and barred her from filing another one, unless represented by counsel. He said Farr describes her claims the best — as a “vast conspiracy.”

“Of course, she characterizes this ‘vast conspiracy’ as one she ‘has proven.’ And that is precisely the point where she and the court part ways,” Crabtree wrote.

Clay Barker, general counsel to Schwab, referenced Farr’s lawsuit when he appeared last week before a special elections committee. As lawmakers courted conspiracy theories, Barker tried to convince them of the integrity of Kansas elections.

Barker talked about the absurdity of claims brought by people like Farr, who also had tried to convince Crabtree that the CIA used cloaks of invisibility to infiltrate her home and steal the secret algorithm that allows officials to control the outcome of elections.

“I’m picturing this woman telling this to a federal judge, with all the majesty of the district courts, the seal, the high ceilings and the robes,” Barker said.

He imagined Crabtree listening to Farr, considering her arguments and then informing her she couldn’t file more election lawsuits in Kansas.

“She says, ‘That’s OK, because I’m going to run for president and get rid of you,’ ” Barker said.


Joan Farr answers questions during an interview Sept, 30, 2023, at Sunflower Cafe in Lawrence.
Joan Farr has given up her political ambitions, but she is holding out hope for a visit from Keanu Reeves. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

A message for Reeves

Farr’s “dreamy new friend” promised to donate $500,000 to her presidential campaign.

But first, the fake Reeves needed her to transfer $6,700 to pay for a security detail before he would join her at her high school class reunion. She persuaded her hesitant son to let her borrow $3,600 from his home equity line of credit, and charged another $2,900 to her credit card.

Reeves didn’t come to Kansas, she believed, because the Bitcoin transfer initially was blocked. The account had been flagged by authorities as being connected to a scammer. Undeterred, she transferred the money to a new account provided by the fake Reeves.

When her family learned that Farr believed the actor would meet up with her, their response shocked her.

“You would think I had turned senile and needed to be committed, the way they were acting,” Farr said.

She had 80 cents in her checking account and her credit card was maxed out. She had no idea how to pay her taxes in December.

But Reeves was scheduled for a Sept. 29 performance in Lawrence. Farr booked at room at the DoubleTree, because “it’s where the VIPs stay,” but Reeves must have checked out before she checked in.

After the show, she waited with fans for two hours by his bus door. When Reeves emerged from Liberty Hall, she tried to give him a card with a poem, but he wouldn’t take it.

To make matters worse, it appeared to Farr that the CIA had moved her car during the show. She said she needed Lawrence police to help her find it. Then she discovered the CIA had dismantled her GPS system, and she had to stop twice to ask for directions back to her hotel, less than two miles away.

By the time of the Lawrence concert, Farr already knew the truth. She looks to Instagram for Bible verses and encouragement, and two days earlier she instead saw this random post: “Romeo got Juliet, Jack got Rose, and you, you got played.”

That’s when she realized a member of Reeves’ security team must be former CIA, and they were obviously trying to make her look bad so she would lose votes.

So she is abandoning the idea of running for public office.

She finds comfort in the idea that people who are more powerful than her, or even RFK Jr., eventually will take down the CIA.

“Better not go there or I might get locked up,” Farr said, “so I can only say this: Keanu, your coffee beans are waiting. I hope you come visit me soon.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the editor in chief of Kansas Reflector. He writes about things that powerful people don't want you to know. A two-time Kansas Press Association journalist of the year, his award-winning reporting includes stories about education, technology, foster care, voting, COVID-19, sex abuse, and access to reproductive health care. Before founding Kansas Reflector in 2020, he spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2004, back when the school still valued English and journalism. He was raised in the country at the end of a dead end road in Lyon County.