We’ve reached an age where absurdity has hit an all time high, from pop culture to media to politics, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between the lines of realty and fiction. Look no further than the subreddit Not The Onion to that point, which aggregates dozens of stories on a daily basis that were seemingly ripped right off the front page of the most popular satire website on the internet.
So when a story started going viral today claiming that the Jinhua Zoo in China held a contest to name a baby gorilla, most of the internet took it at face value that 73,000 people voted to name the gorilla “Harambe McHarambeface.” It was literally the perfect storm of the Boaty McBoatface debacle and a recent story about the Philadelphia Zoo’s ill-advised contest to name a baby gorilla in the wake of Harambe meme fever.
Unfortunately, the story can be traced back to a website called The Boston Leader, which by all intents and purposes does not appear to be a real website. Even a Google search for “The Boston Leader” turns up little more than the viral article in question.
Due to the “shoot first, ask questions later” nature of the internet, however, it hasn’t stopped the news from circulating all over the place, as you can see by the elated and confused reactions on Twitter.