If you’re seeing social media users calling for Robert Irwin to be “canceled,” it’s because the 18-year-old son of the late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin has stirred up controversy at the family’s Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland.
As Robert and mom Terri Irwin, Steve’s widow, appeared on the Australian morning show Today last month to hype up the zoo’s reopening — and the fourth season of their docuseries Crikey! It’s the Irwins — the duo shared footage of Robert’s close call with Casper, one of the crocodiles at the zoo.
In the footage, Robert nearly becomes crocodile lunch as Casper charges at him. But the teenager doesn’t seem to have hard feelings toward the scaly beast. “It was definitely a lot of fun,” he said on Today. “Casper’s one of the most hard-hitting crocs that we’ve got at the zoo … He is just absolutely dynamite.”
But viewers don’t think Robert’s crocodile interactions are so “dynamite”…
Robert said his encounter with Casper was “too close” but “good fun.”
On Today, Robert recounted how his scary face-off with Casper went down, saying that the croc “[put] on a big strike” as Robert was feeding him. “I throw the food, he looks straight past the food and just right at my head and just starts running,” the teen recounted. “He puts on this huge chase, and I just go, ‘No. Bail.’ You can’t have any sort of ego. You gotta know when to call it, when it’s too close, and that was too close. But yeah, good fun. It was good fun.”
For her part, Terri said she was “incredibly proud” of her son as he carries on Steve’s work studying crocodiles at the zoo. “There are days where you cut it finer than other days, but I know that Robert’s well-rehearsed with crocodiles,” she said.
Terri also observed that the crocodiles at the zoo might think Robert is Steve. “Because I watched the crocs that used to try so diligently to kill your dad, and now they’re after you in the same way,” she told her son, laughing.
People claim the crocodile shows are “animal abuse for entertainment” and they are “tormenting” the reptiles.
As Daily Mail reports, Robert and the Australia Zoo have been under intense criticism lately on social media since the Casper incident, with users calling out the zoo’s crocodile shows.
“Zoos should never exist, wild animals shouldn’t be held captive for the amusement of humans,” one person wrote in a comment, according to the tabloid.
Another user wrote, ‘Leave the animals alone.”
And a third person said, “When will they learn? This is said. For a show, was it worth it?”
Other users had even more damning critiques. “Animal abuse for entertainment” one person wrote. Another said, “Stop tormenting wild animals.”
22 Words recaps other comments about Robert. “Just like his dad, taunting and bothering animals for amusement,” one user said, the site reports.
“He shouldn’t be allowed to do it,” said another.
And a third wrote, “That’s how the family makes money from animal cruelty.”