Steve Irwin, the late Crocodile Hunter and wildlife conservationist, was criticised by PETA over Twitter. On Friday, Feb. 22, Google celebrated what would have been Irwin’s 57th birthday with a Google Doodle to honor his greatness. Google’s Twitter page tweeted out the Google Doodle so everyone could go see it. However, later that day, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA, took offense to the tweet and the Google Doodle.
PETA is an international organization that fights for animals’ rights of all kinds in all sorts of situations, hence the “ethical treatment” in their slogan. In PETA’s tweet about Irwin’s Doodle, they said, “#SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.” They went on, in two more tweets, saying “Steve Irwin’s actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife. A real wildlife expert & someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes,” and, “It is harassment to drag exotic animals, including babies taken from their mothers, around from TV talk shows to conferences & force them to perform as Steve Irwin did. Animals deserve to live as they want to, not as human demand — the #GoogleDoodle should represent that.” PETA soon received a lot of backlash to the set of tweets.
Twitter accounts owned by people all around the world made sure to let PETA know that they were upset about the chosen words said about Irwin. Many tweets are showing the same message: PETA didn’t think what they said through and that they are overlooking the hundreds of animals that were saved because of Irwin.
PETA’s tweet claimed that Irwin was “killed while harassing a ray.” However, this is false. According to telegraph.co.uk, report of Irwin’s death by his cameraman say otherwise. Irwin and his cameraman, Justin Lyons, was in the Great Barrier Reef looking for something to film when they came across an eight-foot ray in chest deep water. Their goal was to get the stingray just swimming away, unharmed and unthreatened. But that wasn’t the case, as the ray saw the shadow of Irwin and felt threatened. Then, doing what rays do when they feel threatened, started whipping its tail at Irwin. Lyons said that the whole incident happened faster than he could process, and didn’t realize something was wrong until he looked backed at Irwin after the ray left. So, according the the cameraman, and the captured footage, there was no harassment at all involved. Irwin’s death was a crazy, freak accident.