‘Man Dies After Secret 4-Year Battle With Gorilla’ Satire: Some People Thought it Was Real

February 21, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

An article from satire news site The Onion saying that a man died from a “secret 4-year Battle with [a] gorilla” apparently tricked some people.

The satire, which says “David Seaborne, a devoted husband and father of three, died Tuesday at the age of 37 following a long and painful personal battle with a 512-pound eastern lowland gorilla,” was published in 2009. The Onion recently posted it on Facebook and tweeted it out on Friday. 

“He fought that terrible gorilla with every last ounce of strength he had, but in the end, David’s body just couldn’t handle it anymore,” reads a fake quote from his wife. “Every morning, he’d look at me with tired eyes and deep scratches across his face, and he’d say, ‘Honey, I’m going to beat this thing.’ God, he was brave.”

The Onion is satire and since the late 1980s, it has never published a real news story.

Its disclaimer reads, “The Onion uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.”

A few people on the Onion’s Facebook page apparently thought the gorilla was real.

“Wtf! Why would u do that! People are just crazy! RIP,” reads one post on the page.

Another clarified the issue, saying: “It amazes me how many people think the The Onion is a legitimate news source. Probably the same people that believe wrestling is real.”

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