Every so often your faith in humanity is restored when the social world unites to excoriate an event deserving of its wrath. So it goes with Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed a beloved, world-famous lion, Cecil, in Zimbabwe under cover of darkness and questionable legality. Palmer is not having a good day. Good.
The circumstances behind the hunt — a huge chunk of change (reportedly $US55,000) paid for the dubious honour, luring the lion out of his protective preserve at night, shooting him with bow and arrow so that he suffered for 40 hours before being shot, skinned, and beheaded, the potential death of his cubs as other lions take over the pride — all combine to fuel the ultimate internet outrage machine.
Celebrities, media, brands, and thousands upon thousands of posts across platforms are telling the story of Cecil and his killer; many are exploring the realities of for-profit big game hunting and demanding bans. Calls for boycotts of Palmer's dentistry practice are widespread, and as Jezebel points out, Yelp reviewers are having a field day on Palmer's page.
Here's a round-up of the sort of responses currently flooding the channels of the Internet. RIP, Cecil:
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 28, 2015
Few things are less manly than paying thousands of $$$ to go to a gated reserve to shoot a lion. How small is your dick bro? #CecilTheLion
— Matt Heiniger (@HeinigeronSport) July 28, 2015
— Scott (@Chicaned02) July 28, 2015
— ALDF (@ALDF) July 28, 2015
— peta2 (@peta2) July 28, 2015
It's deeply insecure & inadequate men attempting to compensate & derive self-esteem through cowardice & slaughter. https://t.co/BEOo1ZlTH1
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 28, 2015
If you need a quick cry at your desk...
— tab (@tofurkys) July 28, 2015
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 28, 2015
Beyond the Twitterdome
"For Cecil" by andes-sudo.tumblr.com
Meanwhile, caught in a social media firestorm, Palmer is trying to pass the buck. He deeply regrets killing a famous animal and would have preferred to hunt, torture and mutilate a less well-known creature:
Palmer's Minnesota-based dental practice has been inundated with calls, threats, vicious Yelp and Google reviews, and its webpage is currently down. Karma?