Cecil, we hardly knew ye...
The assassinated lion of
Zimbabwe, killed recently under dubious circumstances by an American dentist, is being mourned with passion and fury by celebrities on social media. And the dentist is the focus of such an outpouring of contempt and hostility, he's been forced into hiding.
Meanwhile, however, a backlash is also building on Twitter from those who wonder: Where is the celebrity passion for Sandra Bland or the "Black Lives Matter" movement?
Leave it to the usually wisecracking talk-show host,
Jimmy Kimmel, to sum up the anger and shame millions of Americans feel over the death of Cecil, a lion beloved in one of Zimbabwe's national parks and in Britain, where conservation scientists had been tracking him for years.
Kimmel was so upset on his show Tuesday night, he choked up even as he was telling excoriating jokes and urging viewers to donate to the Oxford wildlife conservationgroup that had been studying Cecil and his endangered kind.
Kimmel was unsparing of the Minnesota hunter/dentist, referring to him as a "jackhole," as "vomitous," and...ahem...inadequate.
"Why are you shooting a lion in the first place...how is that fun?," Kimmel demanded, addressing Walter Palmer, who paid more than $50,000 to kill Cecil with a crossbow, under circumstances now being investigated by Zimbabwe authorities as a possible poaching crime.
(The Minneapolis dentist, who has protested in vain he didn't know Cecil was a protected lion, shut down his practice and disappeared as threats and protesters multiplied on Twitter and outside his office.)
"Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things? They have a pill for that, it works great. Just take that and save yourself from a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-o pudding on television," Kimmel sneered.
And he was not the only one sneering and fuming. Outrage spread across Twitter in a twinkling after the news about the lion exploded Wednesday. There is already an onlinepetition, with over 400,000 signatures so far, demanding "justice" for Cecil from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
Celebrity animal lovers, of which there are scores, have been tweeting, including known activists such as
Ricky Gervais and Kaley Cuoco Sweeting.