Harambe the gorilla is still an ongoing topic in the Internet’s meme-making business, and the Cincinnati Zoo is not happy about it.
If you happened to miss the tragic-story-turned-dank-meme that is Harambe, it all started earlier this year when a three-year-old fell into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo in Ohio. After Harambe grabbed the child, a zookeeper shot and killed the gorilla over fears he would kill the toddler.
Since then, Harambe has become memorialised in a variety of sincere memes, less sincere memes, jokes, and petitions.
— Chance Valentine (@Team_Chance) August 8, 2016
Open then swipe up to send harambe to heaven pic.twitter.com/tahDdR4AnZ
— b.b (@Benoo_Brown) August 21, 2016
Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director, told the Associated Press:
We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us.
Some people have already clicked into the fact that the Harambe memes are probably a bit inappropriate:
Maybe I'm just old, but the Harambe meme is incredibly stupid. There's an actual serious event behind it y'all have trashed… 3 months late
— Aureylian (@aureylian) August 22, 2016
But unfortunately for the zoo, interest in Harambe has surged since the gorilla has been revived as a meme.
According to the Independent, Google Trends shows that searches for Harambe’s name are now almost equal with their peak after he was killed.
Even a guy who started his own petition for Harambe has asked people to stop making petitions.
WCPO-TV web editor James Leggate wrote:
At first, the petitioners had good intentions. But then the goofuses of the Internet hopped on the Harambe train for their jollies, and it has gotten out of control.
Was eating a banana today and just broke down thinking about him. #Harambe
— Jordan Payton (@LEGIQN) August 22, 2016
But Ashley Byrne, an associate director at PETA, said those creating the dank memes were in the minority among the people who were mourning the gorilla.
She told the Independent:
This tragic incident really did start a new conversation. Most people who saw the video came away with a great degree of empathy for animals forced to live in captivity.
So have the Harambe memes officially gone too far? Considering they’re clouding a real event that has serious issues and controversies behind it, I would say yes.
But will that stop people from laughing at them in the future? Probably not.