For the world’s most infamous dentist, Walter Palmer, it was safer for him to be on an African hunt than the Internet yesterday.
He was the Internet outrage-du-jour on Tuesday for admitting to killing Zimbabwe’s celebrity lion, Cecil during a hunt earlier this month prompting a tidal wave of fury that made him public enemy number one.
The details of how the 13-year-old black mane lion died are gruesome. CNN reports that Palmer and two hunters lured him from a protected area then shot the lion with a bow and arrow. Then, they let it survive for 40 more hours before shooting it to skin and behead it. Zimbabwean authorities have arrested the hunters.
Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, released a statement saying he believed the hunt was legal and had “no idea” that Cecil was so beloved. “Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he said.
He was probably better off saying nothing since there were no words that could have contained the damage. His dentistry Yelp’s page was flooded with nasty comments calling him “demented” and a “disgusting coward.” Fake pages for River Bluff Dental also popped up on Facebook to further humiliate with equally scathing reviews.
Then there was Twitter. Data from Amobee Brand Intelligence tracked 672,000 tweets about Cecil the Lion, with 391,000 of those tweets using the hashtag #CecilTheLion. Overall, #CecilTheLion tallied 2 billion impressions, according to Brandwatch, ensuring that he was gone but certainly not forgotten.
Normals and celebrities alike tweeted out their condolences to the lion and called out Palmer for his act, including Jimmy Kimmel who choked up on his show talking about the lion.
This #WalterPalmer is a poor excuse of a human being!
— Cara Delevingne (@Caradelevingne) July 28, 2015
#WalterPalmer is Satan. I don’t know how anyone could go to this man for dental services after this. He is a killer. Beware!
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) July 28, 2015
Brands joined in to condemn Palmer:
— PETA (@peta) July 29, 2015
As for Palmer, who wasn’t helping dentists already poor reputation, his hashtag (#WalterPalmer) collected 50,000 tweets with the sentiment being twice as negative than positive. Overall, his name garnered 222,187,926 impressions. Per usual, a day later the hot take oven was turned on and there was no shortage of freshly baked tweets about the backlash:
Maybe if Boko Haram was capturing and killing lions instead of kids there’d be more outrage, and actual action. — Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) July 29, 2015
ISIS throws gays off buildings, Boko Haram kidnaps girls as slaves, and the western world goes nuts over a poached Lion.
— JennyBanAllTheThings (@JenSuspenders) July 29, 2015
@elonjames Just saw a share on FB that described Jimmy Kimmel as being “choked up” over Cecil the Lion. Any TV hosts teary over Tamir Rice?
— Bethany Rae (@Orange_Swan) July 29, 2015