Many times, it’s hard to pinpoint the origin of a meme. But, with the Harambe memes, the beginning couldn’t have been more memorable.
In May of 2016, a four-year-old boy visiting the Cincinnati Zoo with his mother crawled into the enclosure that housed Harambe, a mature silverback gorilla. Harambe grabbed the boy and began dragging him around the enclosure, and eventually, the Zoo officials made the heart-wrenching decision to shoot Harambe before he could potentially harm the child. A clip of the whole encounter was uploaded to YouTube, where it reached over 12 million views within 48 hours.
The memes that spawned from this situation were driven by the furious debate that raged around the whole situation — debate which, even months later, hasn’t been resolved. Here’s a roundup of the best memes that were inspired by Harambe:
Most beloved dead celebs of 2016
Harambe takes his rightful seat among the beloved stars who passed away in 2016. This particular meme features favorites like Prince, David Bowie, and Muhammad Ali.