Bored of hearing about ‘fake news’? It’s not just a US or UK problem where you can run into a false article, it’s everywhere.
Take a look at this preposterous article from a South African newspaper which went viral across the continent:
‘Gay baboon terrorizes villagers, rapes 5 men’, the headline reads, as it claims men are ‘living in fear’ over the big, male primate having sex with human males.
‘…what’s baffling the villagers is the fact that the baboon only attacks guys and does not hurt its victims but rather performs sexual acts on top of the terrified victim and leaves,’ it reads.
Cassandra Raby, PHD student at the Zoological Society of London and baboon researcher, said a part of her is ‘not surprised’ by the article.
‘People like to blame baboons for everything,’ she told GSN. ‘I just can’t imagine a scenario in which a baboon would be interested in humans, a homosexual interaction or not.’
Baboons, like all primates, have been observed engaging in same-sex behavior. But only with each other.
A ‘victim’ is quoted as saying he was coming home when the baboon attacked him and pinned him down. ‘I thought it wanted to kill me but realised it was after my bum,’ he says.
But Raby reacts: ‘A baboon would not be able to pin down a human in that way or know how to deal with clothing. The only time a male baboon would act this way to another male baboon is to show dominance by mounting.’
In response to the claims that five men have ‘anal cancer’, as well as ‘acute anal pains and fatigue’ due to the penetration from the baboon, Raby was not convinced.
‘No. Their penises are very small. Well, they can be long but they’re still thin. They wouldn’t do much, if any, damage.’
Even the line that states the baboon is strange because of it traveling alone, our baboon expert says it’s ‘completely normal’ for a primate to be seen in the wild alone as they may be looking for a new troop.
And finally, in response to the article that states males are wearing dresses to avoid getting sexually assaulted by a baboon?
‘Baboons cannot tell the difference between gender based on clothing,’ she said.
‘It’s funny how these stories can worry people unnecessarily. Baboons are an easy target because they’re human-like and people attribute human understanding to them. When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame them.
‘They’re very curious animals – they break all my equipment in the field – but people say they’re doing it on purpose rather than out of curiosity.’
Edwin Sesange, director of African LGBTI group Out and Proud Diamond, suspects this fake article was written to spark hatred against the gay community.
‘This is to say even gay animals are evil’
‘This is to say even gay animals are evil,’ he told GSN. ‘It is likely the story is trying to link homosexuality with disease and perversion.
‘Look at how people try and connect gay men with HIV.’
Sesange noted how many preachers tend to connect homosexuality with bestiality. Simon Lokodo, Ethics Minister of Uganda, has previously said bestiality and gay sex is ‘worse than defiling a kid’.
‘Everyone is against bestiality. Everyone is against pedophilia. If you equate gay sex with what society is against, it makes gay people an easy target.’
The LGBTI activist hoped to make clear this story is ‘clearly untrue’.
‘We understand the motive behind it,’ he said. ‘It is intended to create more hate. It’s intended to create more persecution.’