Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is under fire again this week, after the organization accused Google of sending a “dangerous” message with their Google Doodle tribute to the late Crocodile Hunter star, Steve Irwin. The wildlife conservationist, who would have been 57 years old on Friday, passed away in 2006 after an accident involving a sting ray in Australia.
The official Google Doodle Twitter account shared the search engine’s drawing of Irwin holding a crocodile on Friday evening, according to Fox News. PETA’s criticism came in a reply to the tweet.
#SteveIrwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.”
Responses to the criticism immediately poured in, with many Twitter users slamming PETA for looking past all of the work Irwin did to save animals.
“Where is your habitat for saving animals? You have a wildlife preserve anywhere? Do you have 1,000’s of acres preserving animals from extinction?” one user said. “Steve Irwin spent his whole life wanting to save animals. Ya’ll are becoming ‘progressively’ pathetic.”
CRIKEY!— Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) February 22, 2019
Today's #GoogleDoodle celebrates #SteveIrwin, the legendary Australian wildlife advocate & TV personality whose bravery & passion opened the eyes of millions to the wonders of wildlife. ????
Explore the full slideshow Doodle here → https://t.co/z8PPgDaXfr pic.twitter.com/mGtpwSuqzL
Irwin made several contributions throughout his life to wildlife education and conservation. He founded a crocodile rescue organization and supported several other animal charities.
However, he did stir up controversy during his many television appearances, as some viewers believed Irwin exploited the animals he worked with. In addition, the wildlife conservationist often brought his young children close to some of the more dangerous animals, which some fans considered to be child endangerment, according to Biography.
Another user wrote that PETA owes Irwin’s family an apology for their comments, while many fans shared how Irwin touched their lives as children.
“Steve Irwin was my childhood hero,” one person said. “He inspired me so much – his love for life, for animals, for people, and for this world.”
PETA faced backlash on Tuesday when news broke of Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s death. As The Inquisitr previously reported, PETA’s president Ingrid Newkirk called Lagerfeld the organization’s “nemesis” and praised the end of an era filled with fur in fashion. Many Twitter users called the comment insensitive, as Lagerfeld’s family is still mourning the death of the fashion icon.
Lagerfeld often used fur as well as crocodile, lizard, and snakeskin in his designs, and defended the use of animals in fashion on more than one occasion. As such, PETA had a long withstanding rivalry with the designer, sometimes protesting his fashion shows.