Robert Zimmerman talks about life with infamous brother George

Robert Zimmerman says the family has tried -- and failed -- to capitalize on the notoriety of George Zimmerman since he was found not guilty of Trayvon Martin's murder.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Sept. 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM
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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- In the two years since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, life has been turned upside down for his family.

Speaking to GQ, members of the Zimmerman family spoke about life after "the incident" -- the night Robert Zimmerman Jr. said his brother became the "Wreck-It Ralph of America."

"I learn a lot from watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians," Robert Zimmerman said, of being thrust into the role of family crisis manager. "Like, use the [expletive] you've got."

He said the family hoped once George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in July 2013, the family could find a way to flip their newfound notoriety into riches, like a home-security company called Z Security Products with George as the spokesman.

"They all start with Z," Robert said of their many business ideas.

"There's the Z Bar, the Z Rock, and the Z Beam. They're all targeted to women. One is to secure sliding doors. One is to put in the front door. The light is to carry and is designed by George. It has a little alarm -- you know, Help me, help me!"

He had plans for reality television: John Walsh did it with America's Most Wanted after his son was abducted and killed, as did the aforementioned Kardashians, whose fame was launched by Kim's leaked sex tape.

But no reality gig would come without rehabbing George Zimmerman's image: An appearance on Hannity, meant to start the process, fell apart on logistics. Fox wanted him to fly on February 26 -- the second anniversary of the shooting.

"It is like 9/11 for my family! We can't travel together that day -- it's like having the whole royal family travel together!" Robert Zimmerman said he told Fox.

Instead, he suggested the network pay for a security detail and rooms in a four-star hotel for the brothers to drive up from central Florida, a suggestion Fox refused.

The family's paranoia was likely somewhat justified: Threats directed at them flooded the #Justice4Trayvon hashtag, and Robert Zimmerman said he was warned by a Federal Department of Law Enforcement that "credible yet nonspecific" intelligence named him a "target."

The whole family went from hotel to hotel, even before George Zimmerman was charged, until they found a house for rent in a neighborhood where most homes were foreclosed. According to the GQ article, they still rarely leave the house, even as George has had several run-ins with police.

Other networks were willing to pay for hotels in Miami -- Robert Zimmerman says they never went without a backpack full of guns -- for appearances on Univision and CNN.

As for the GQ article, George Zimmerman refused to be interviewed, when the magazine refused to pay for a week's stay in a luxury hotel.

While no charges have been filed, the family says George Zimmerman's greatest fear is he will eventually be charged in a civil rights case.

"He's worried," his father, Bob said, "that if FBI agents come and kick in his door, he's probably gonna shoot a few of them."

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