Stranger than Fiction: The Odd Tale of Antiviral Software Inventor John McAfee

From Millionaire to Madmen: The Story of John McAfee

Directed by J Aubrey (2020)

Film Review

This documentary recounts the bizarre story of John McAfee, multimillionaire inventor of the world’s first commercial anti-viral software. Free McAfee software (currently owned by Intel) is everywhere. In fact I can recall inadvertently downloading and having to remove it from my hard drive at least four times. McAfee himself has made an X-rated YouTube video explaining how to uninstall it:

He founded the software company McAfee Associates in 1987 and ran it until 1994, when he resigned. After writing some self-help books and starting a yoga institute, he moved to Belize to avoid a string of lawsuits.

While in Belize, he built a lab for an American microbiologist who was researching the antibiotic properties of a local plant.

Embarking on a heavy drug and alcohol spree, he became noticeably manic and paranoid. Complaining that the regular entourage of Belizean prostitutes he engaged  were plotting to kill him, he built a police station for his small village of Carmelita and hired a police force to staff it.

His paranoia only increased after the Belize Gang Suppression Unit raided His property based on an allegation a hit man he hired had kidnapped and beat up a local gang member. McAfee was also arrested on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and released due to lack of evidence.

In 2010, the microbiologist he was financing fled the country claiming McAfee had drugged and raped her.

When the Belize government charged him with having his next door neighbor killed In 2012, McAfee fled the country for Guatemala. Following his arrest by Interpol, he faked a heart attack and was flown to Florida.

Although McAfee never faced criminal prosecution for his neighbor’s death, the family sued him in US court, which ordered McAfee to pay them $25 million for wrongful death.

He left the US once again to avoid this and other civil judgements against him. In 2020 he campaigned from international waters to become the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate.

In October 2020, he was arrested in Spain for US tax evasion. According to the Guardian, he has been in prison for nine months awaiting an extradition hearing. See

2 thoughts on “Stranger than Fiction: The Odd Tale of Antiviral Software Inventor John McAfee

  1. Wow, I’m amazed the Spanish authorities allow him to Tweet from jail. Cellphones aren’t allowed in New Zealand jails. I suspect they don’t allow drugs and alcohol, which could explained his present lucidity.


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