One of the week's craziest stories just got even crazier.
The identity of the parents who let their toddler fall into the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure, leading to the unfortunate and much-contested death of Harambe the gorilla, has been revealed. While Twitter spent much of the weekend bashing the assumed white parents for bad parenting, it turns out the child, and his parents, are Black.
Michelle Gregg, 32, and Deonne Dickerson, 36, came forward to reveal their identities, and while much ado has been made about Dickerson's criminal past, reports seem to confirm that he has turned his life around and is a happy father of four.
Before their identities were exposed, many took to Twitter to say that the parents of the child should be held responsible for the gorilla’s death, who, in the video, seems to be protecting the young boy as opposed to trying to harm him. Black Twitter was particularly harsh toward the parents. Here are some Tweets ridiculing the parents before their identities were revealed:
I'm kind of upset that that gorilla got shot and killed because some irresponsible white parent let her idiot child climb into the enclosure— Jeff Strome (@Prince_Flacko) May 29, 2016
Being raised by the gorilla >> being raised by white ppl— Azor Ahai (@canehdianx3) May 29, 2016
White kids jumping into gorilla pits? I really ain't surprised— jimmy pesto jr (@Namastaywoke) May 29, 2016
maybe if you had yo child on a leash like a normal white person that poor gorilla wouldnt be dead— JayZOverrated (@JayZOverrated) May 29, 2016
After Dickerson and Gregg came forward, many had to face the fact that they had jumped to a biased conclusion.
Wait a minute so you guys spent all day talking about white parenting practices & the gorilla boy is black? Oh boy lol.— EdAsante (@EdAsante77) May 29, 2016
We been making fun of white parenting all day and that was a black baby with the gorilla...damn pic.twitter.com/xK5LEWPsGb— RJ of Wakanda (@RJG0789) May 30, 2016
When I didn't hear the child's life get threatened by the mom I figured they were white. Boy was wrong. Lol https://t.co/u6fcjZoksz— Comedian Ishoos (@Comedianishoos) May 31, 2016
Zoo officials have come forward to express their deep sadness over the loss of the gorilla, who Jerry Stones, a zoo employee called, "A pretty, beautiful male [who] was very intelligent. His mind was going constantly."
Soon after the incident, Gregg released a statement regarding the incident. "We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff," it read. "We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time."
Many have mourned the critically endangered gorilla's death since the incident occurred. Luckily the child suffered only minor scrapes and bruises. Gorilla World, at the zoo, has been closed since the incident took place on Saturday, but Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said he expects the enclosure to reopen by next weekend.
One silver lining for those who are mourning the loss of Harambe is that the zoo does have viable sperm stored at the zoo.
(Photos from top: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images, Deonne Dickerson via Facebook)
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