He backed the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, and pulled out of the race to replace Prime Minister David Cameron as a result.
Now former mayor of London Boris Johnson has been named the UK’s Foreign Secretary by new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson was the most prominent supporter of the “leave” campaign as voters headed to the polls over the historic decision widely known as Brexit.
Following the shock result to leave, Johnson paid tribute to Cameron, calling him “brave” and “one of the most extraordinary politicians of our age.”
Johnson, with his shock of wild blonde hair, has gained prominence following the Brexit vote – but just who is the flamboyant politician? Here are four things you need to know about the former London mayor.
1. He Was Born in America
Don’t be fooled by his thick British accent, Johnson was born in New York and has held a U.S. passport.
His family lived in the city after his father, Stanley – a prize-winning poet – won a fellowship.
2. He Got Stuck on a Zip-Line During the 2012 London Olympics. No, Really
During a promotional appearance for the London Olympics, the former journalist became stuck on a zip-line and was left dangling as onlookers snapped photos.
The stunt looked promising as Johnson took off down the line, waving two U.K. flags. But things began going downhill – or down line – when he began sliding the opposite way before coming to a halt.
“I want you to know, it’s very, very well organized,” he joked of the event. “Get me a ladder. I think they needed to test it on somebody going a bit faster.”
3. He Faced Backlash After Criticizing President Obama
During Obama’s April visit to London to meet with Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday – and to urge Britons to vote against the Brexit – Johnson penned an essay published in The Sun blasting the president’s opposition to Brexit.
“For the United States to tell us in the U.K. that we must surrender control of so much of our democracy – it is a breathtaking example of the principle of so-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do,” Johnson wrote. “It is incoherent. It is inconsistent, and yes it is downright hypocritical.”
He also mentioned a bust of Winston Churchill that was removed from the Oval Office in 2009, writing, “some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.”
Many condemned Johnson’s essay, with Nicholas Soames, a Conservative Parliament member and a grandson of Churchill, calling it an “appalling article” that is “totally wrong on almost everything.”
4. He’s Had to Apologize – a Lot
Johnson’s mussed blond hair, sharp wit and rogue ways have grabbed the attention of many Britons during his eight-year stint as mayor. But the former journalist has had his share of dark moments.
The politician was forced to apologize for racist comments after calling Black people “piccaninnies” in 2008, according to CNN.
He also came under fire for referring to people from Papua New Guinea as cannibals, according to the Associated Press.