Last Sunday, Facebook user Jay Branscomb posted a picture of director Steven Spielberg posing with a triceratops, with the comment, "Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man."
Of course, triceratops have been extinct for millions of years. Spielberg was posing next to a movie prop from Jurassic Park
, not an actual animal. Branscomb intended his post as a joke, alluding to the ongoing brouhaha about Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old cheerleader who likes hunting big game and posing with her kills.
Branscomb's post quickly went viral, and it seems that the vast majority of people got the joke. But yes, apparently a few people were confused and thought Spielberg really had killed a triceratops. One person on Facebook angrily denounced Spielberg as an "Animal Killer". Another wrote, "I don't care who he is, he should not have shot that animal."
This was all the Daily Mail
needed to report that "gullible internet users" were in an uproar over the photo, and other media orgs followed suit
. Branscomb himself has noted
that, "Nearly all of the 'outraged' comments were themselves spoofs."
Branscomb followed up his triceratops post with a post of a picture of a young Spielberg posing with the shark prop from Jaws, with the comment: "Folks, we need your help identifying the vicious shark-killer shown posing with his illegal prey. Sharks are essential to the eco-system and their waters are protected off the coast of California. If you have any knowledge of this fiend's identity or whereabouts, please contact authorities immediately.""