Steve Irwin would have been 57 years old on Friday. Google is honoring the renowned crocodile hunter with a Google Doodle that tells the story of his life and legacy
After tweeting criticism of the late wildlife conservationist and TV personality Steve Irwin, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is facing backlash on social media.
Irwin would have turned 57 on Friday, and to honor the host of “The Crocodile Hunter,” Google changed the logo on its search page.
The doodle was a slideshow featuring illustrations of Irwin searching for crocodiles and feeding the animals while working at the Australia Zoo. He died in 2006 during a snorkeling expedition when a stingray barb pierced his heart.
In response, PETA on Friday said Irwin “was killed while harassing a ray” and that the Google doodle “sends a dangerous, fawning message.”
The animal rights organization doubled down on the criticism in a pair of tweets to follow, implying Irwin didn’t act like a “real wildlife expert.”
Many Twitter users called out PETA for not being respectful of Irwin and his work.
Others said Irwin can both work with animals and respect them.
Some praised Irwin for educating the public about rare animals.
In a statement to USA TODAY about the backlash to the tweets, PETA said, “People should examine Steve Irwin’s record of wildlife molestation.”
Part of PETA’s motto is that animals not be used for entertainment.
“Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones,” the official Twitter of PETA UK posted less than an hour after his death.
Contributing: Brett Molina, USA TODAY. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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