The death of Harambe, a gorilla housed at the Cincinnati Zoo, has inspired an ongoing wave of anger among both animal rights activists and concerned parents everywhere. The gorilla was shot dead by zoo officials after a 3-year-old boy fell into the enclosure Saturday, with the Cincinnati Police Department confirming Tuesday that they would be investigating the incident. Given the divisive nature of Harambe's death, many have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. However, as revealed by one Weston woman who just so happens to have the same name as the boy's mother, some have targeted the wrong person entirely.
"I started receiving a bunch of friend requests on Saturday," Michelle Gregg, who (unlike the other Michelle Gregg) has never been to the Cincinnati Zoo, told Complex Tuesday. "I thought they were just spam and ignored them. Sunday, I saw one of my Facebook friends had commented on the 'I Support Michelle Gregg' page and called her an idiot basically. That's when it all came together." Gregg says she also received "very personal" messages of hate, prompting her to make a clarification meme "about 45 minutes" after she realized she was being mistaken for another Gregg:
The worst of the the hate, Gregg says, involved threats aimed at her son. "He took the time to find my son's name and sent me a message saying karma is coming for you," Gregg told Complex. Gregg added that she didn't "take offense" at any of the hateful messages, choosing instead to view them as simply misdirected. "This is very sad and unfortunate," she said. "I didn't take offense to any of the hateful messages I received as they were just words, misdirected words." She does, however, want people to know that bullying of any kind is not the answer: "I want people to know that online bullying is still bullying."
As for the ongoing controversy surrounding Harambe’s death, Gregg is just as saddened as anyone else. "I am very heartbroken that Harambe's life ended so soon," she told Complex. "From the videos, it looked like Harambe was protecting over [the child]. But at the same time, Harambe is a wild animal and wild animals are unpredictable. It's sad anyway you look at it."