Cincinnati Zoo Deletes Social Media Accounts Under Barrage Of Harambe Memes

Telling the public to cool it on the memes apparently backfired.
Handout via Reuters

The Internet is not going to let the Cincinnati Zoo forget about Harambe the gorilla anytime soon.

The zoo, where workers shot and killed Harambe in May after a 3-year-old boy got into the enclosure, has deactivated its social media accounts due to an unending barrage of memes and jokes about the deceased silverback.

In case the very idea of “Harambe memes” is totally new to you, Vox has a good, comprehensive explainer on the phenomenon. But the short version is that in the wake of intense public outrage over Harambe’s death, a wave of memes, jokes and petitions emerged as semi-satirical tributes to the ape.

Unsurprisingly, the Cincinnati Zoo’s social media accounts were a prime target for this kind of thing. Prior to the zoo shuttering its Twitter and Facebook accounts, the majority of posts were flooded with semi-comedic commentary about the gorilla.

A tweet about half-price admission to the zoo, for instance, was met with dozens of replies along the lines of, “I’d pay full price to see Harambe,” “Harambe loved discounts,” and “Harambe paid the full price.”

Or a tweet stating that a yellow pond turtle has 8 vertebrate was swiftly bombarded with tweets like “Harambe had 8 hearts,” “the Cincinnati zoo has 0 harambe” and “harambe loved turtles.”


Someone also hacked the personal account of zoo director Thane Maynard over the weekend, changing his profile picture to a photo of Harambe and sending out tweets including hashtags like “#JusticeforHarambe” and “#DicksOutForHarambe”

On Monday, Maynard called for an end to the monkeying around, saying that that the zoo was “not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe.” He added that the internet’s Harambe obsession was making it more difficult for the zoo community to move on.

Needless to say, people weren’t that sympathetic. The plea to end the meme-ing simply “brought on another wave of jokes,” according to the Independent, and by Tuesday the zoo had deleted its accounts.

So far, there are no signs that the Harambe jokes are slowing down.


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