An article and photo claiming a “Second Giant Sea Creature Washes Ashore Along Santa Monica Coastline,” blaming the 160-foot-long giant squid on “radioactive gigantism” caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, is a hoax, but many thought it was real.
The article was published on The Lightly Braised Turnip, which appears to only post satire.
“Scientists believe that following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant an unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or ‘radioactive gigantism,’” the article said.
The article later states: “In a statement released to the media Gov. Jerry Brown assured local residents that the area is safe and it is ‘business as usual’ in Santa Monica. Gov. Brown indicated that plans to dismember the squid for transport to Scripps Research Institute “will not be delayed.’” The problem is, California Gov. Brown never released those statements.
It also quotes Santa Monica Parks Manager Cynthia Beard and Santa Marino College biology professor Martin L. Grimm, who are not real people.
The picture of the squid is obviously Photoshopped. The squid photo was taken from reports earlier this year of a 30-foot-long giant squid that washed up on a beach in Spain, and it was inserted onto a beach photo that shows spectators gathering around.
About.com writer David Emery, who writes about Internet hoaxes, notes that the article is satire.
However, The Lightly Braised Turnip does not have a disclaimer saying it is satire even though it has only outlandish articles on its website.
Some include “Serena Williams Swings For Fences By Playing Iron Mike In New Biopic,” and “Bud Selig: Red Sox Fans Most Annoying Fans Anywhere.”
No local or national media outlets have reported on the squid.
On Twitter and Facebook, the article was frequently shared this week. Nearly 1 million people “liked” it on Facebook.
“Very very very biiiiig *jaw drop* gigantism!” wrote one user on Twitter.
Added another: “Sounds like the beginnings of a horror movie. Giant Squid Found In California.”
Another tweeted that it was “one of the many impacts of the #Fukushima disaster back in ’11,” while posting the Photoshopped image.
The article was also re-published and cited on some conspiracy webistes and forums.
Giant squids can get to be as large as 40 feet in length. The largest specimen ever captured was 43 feet long.