Over the weekend, a photo of a naked man gleefully clutching the body of a dead shark started getting circulated on Twitter. One of the bigger names to share the image was wildlife TV presenter Anneka Svenska, who is based in the U.K. and obviously cares a lot about animals and wants them treated with more respect.
Svenska initiated a full on man hunt, captioning the picture, "Who is this man? Please RT, find him & ask him why he did this? Where is the humour in humiliating slaughtered animals? "
Sharks are actually unjustly maligned in the media as leg snatchers who are always on the hunt, when in reality, we are hunting them for food, money, and out of fear created by film franchises like Jaws. Really!
Yes, they'll bite you if you're right there in front of them, but they don't really want to eat you. You taste bad.
Don't believe me? Check out the 2006 documentary Sharkwaters, which explores how bad PR has made sharks vulnerable as a species all over the world:
That said: get a grip, lady. That shark definitely isn't "humiliated." It's dead. The man in this photo is definitely humiliated and I doubt he's laughing now! Not that the dude doesn't deserve it, but I don't think sharks are that concerned with what happens to their bodies after they die—they just want to live. Let a shark live!
Deadspin drew even more attention to the case of the nude shark-humper by noting the man's resemblance to Florida Gators football coach Jim McElwain, which he has vehemently denied.
That hasn't stopped people from running with it:
Luckily for McElwain, the Orlando Sentinel has finally unmasked the nude man as a guy named Shawn. He's a former cop from Long island who supposedly agreed to meet with McElwain and shake hands on camera to clear the whole thing up, but got scared at the last second.
David Pingalore, sports anchor for WKMG-TV in Orlando, told the Sentinel, “The man that is naked on the shark is afraid for his life because he believes bounty hunters — I’m not making this up — and people with shark people, whatever those people would be called … he’s afraid because the New York Post put up an article about ‘who is this naked man’ on the naked shark."
Honestly, good call. The real sharks we should all be afraid of are the ones circling us on social media.
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