Outrage and backlash: #CecilTheLion racks up 670K tweets in 24 hours

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.

Brands joined in to condemn Palmer:

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:


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