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SNAPSHOT: Harambe Goes to Wall Street

A statue of Harambe, the beloved Cincinnati Zoo gorilla who was shot to death in 2016, has been erected on Wall Street, opposite the iconic Charging Bull.

THE SNAPSHOT

Photos circulated widely on social media after the 7-foot-tall sculpture, which was built by the Sapien Network, appeared on Monday.

The Sapien Network, an activist social media platform, said in a press release the statue “represents the millions of everyday people who struggle under a system that enriches wealthy elites and leaves the average person behind.”

  • Ankit Bhatia and Robert Giometti, the Sapien Network’s co-founders, also said Harambe is meant to show how Wall Street has gone “bananas.”
MEME OF THE YEAR

Harambe became a cultural phenomenon following his controversial death at the hands of zookeepers, who were concerned after a 3-year-old boy got into the gorilla’s enclosure.

More than 500 million people signed a petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” and an Aug. 2016 Public Policy Polling survey found 2% of Texans backed the gorilla for president,

  • Meanwhile, social media platforms became inundated with Harambe memes.
  • But some feared there was a darker side to Harambe-mania: liberals expressed concerns that the memes might be racist or dismissive of social justice.
  • “It becomes a farcical way to skewer that social media activism rather than actually going after social media advocacy,” Ryan Milner, an associate professor of communications at the College of Charleston, told The New York Times. “It’s a little bit of a subtle shade whether it’s intentional or not.”
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