The website Manbeef.com appeared online in early 2001 and immediately generated controversy. The site claimed to sell human flesh for the "sophisticated human meat consumer." Visitors to the site could read the 'recipe of the day' as they viewed pictures of attractive cuts of homo sapiens. Pictures of meat being squeezed through a grinder underscored exactly what they were selling.
Manbeef promised that, "We have everything from Sausages and Soup Bones to Bouillon, and Stock. All made with the highest quality human meats. Every cut of human meat we sell has been selected for its superb quality and flawless texture. We only offer the choicest cuts of meat."
Word of the site spread largely via email, especially emails urging people to sign petitions to shut down the site.
Attention and Controversy
Manbeef.com attracted so much attention (at one point it was receiving a half-million hits per day) and caused so much controversy, that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration eventually felt compelled to investigate it. They found no evidence that human meat was actually being sold. In other words, the site was a hoax.
This probably came as no surprise to most web surfers, though many people were taken in. Those who had been in doubt might have stopped to consider how it would have been possible for a company to sell human meat. Where would they have obtained the meat without slaughtering people, which would have involved murder?
Skeptics noticed right away that the site offered no way to actually buy the human-meat product. The only thing it was possible to buy from the site were t-shirts and other Manbeef-branded merchandise.
Viewed charitably, Manbeef.com was an expert spoof of the specialty food sites that had proliferated throughout the internet. Viewed uncharitably, it was just gross.
Just being gross was apparently a primary intention of its creator. In July 2001 a Los Angeles graphic designer using the alias 'Joseph Christopherson' took responsibility for Manbeef.com. When asked what his motive was, he explained, "The subject of human meat was chosen because of its ability to churn the viewer's stomach and help outrage the more 'sensitive' viewers. This includes Bible thumpers."
Manbeef.com went offline by the end of 2001. By 2005 the domain had been acquired by another business. It is now a portal for homosexual pornography.
Links and References
- Margaret Ellis, "Manbeef.com Creator Says It's a Hoax." The Columbian. July 14, 2001.