Emotional Insights Weekly

World reacts to ‘Gentle Giant’ shot in Cincinnati Zoo

Last Saturday a young boy fell 15 feet into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe, a critically-endangered western lowland gorilla, retrieved the child, and proceeded to intermittently stand over him and drag him through the water in the enclosure for around 10 minutes, while a screaming crowd looked on. Eventually the decision was made by zoo officials to shoot the gorilla, in order to safely rescue the child.

This story had an intensely negative emotional impact online, with tweets related to the shooting producing an Adorescore of -45 (based on a scale from -100 to 100). High levels of intensely negative emotions like grief, loathing and rage were expressed on Twitter as the social media frenzy ensued. The public delved into the events which lead up to the shooting and the wider context, trying to figure out where the blame should lie.

Three clear groups have emerged from the outrage.

The first group are blaming the mother for not keeping a closer eye on her child in the zoo, with some arguing that the child’s mother should face criminal charges for the negligence, which lead to Harambe’s death. Our analysis of people using #michellegregg generated an Adorescore of -25 with emotions of grief and loathing.

The second group feel that the Cincinnati Zoo are at fault. Many within this group argue that the enclosure was inadequate given that the child was able to gain access to it. Others look at the behaviour that Harambe showed and view it as him trying to protect the child, claiming that the zoo was wrong to shoot the animal, and should have tranquilised him instead. The Zoo Director has spoken out in support of the actions taken that day, explaining that the risk of harm to the child would have been too great in the time that it would have taken for a tranquiliser to take effect. Our analysis of people using #justiceforharambe generated an Adorescore of -25 with emotions of grief and loathing.

The final group argue that the blame lies with humanity in general, calling into question society’s treatment of animals who are born into captivity and remain in enclosures to be a spectacle for paying on-lookers. In response #closeallzoos has gained momentum with an Adorescore of -53, and the emotions grief and rage trending.

It seems that this has generated online debate with extreme emotions on both sides.

Although it is impossible to know exactly what would have happened had different decisions been made, expect further news stories which scrutinise zoos in the coming weeks.

North Korea: Donald Trump, a ‘wise politician’


This week Donald Trump was praised by a North Korean publication in response to repeated claims that he would be willing to withdraw US troops from South Korea and meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should he be elected.

The previously unknown writer of the article, Han Yong-mook, argued that the removal of US troops in the region will bring North Korea closer to their goal of reunification. The editorial, which described Trump as a ‘wise politician’, suggested that Trump is the right choice for the November 8th presidential election, encouraging US citizens to vote for him over ‘dull Hillary’.

Perhaps in response to this glowing endorsement, Trump’s Adorescore has fallen to -2, 30 points lower than last week, with high levels of passionate language evoking rage, grief and loathing being used on Twitter when discussing him.

Despite this large drop for Trump, Twitter support for Hillary Clinton still trails behind at -37, with a similar range of negative emotions being expressed, coupled with lower levels of trust. Bernie Sanders, the second remaining candidate for the Democratic nomination is coming out on top on Twitter, with an Adorescore of 28 and twitter mentions containing high levels of trust, passion, ecstasy, and admiration.

Despite risking the wrath of the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, we tested the hypothesis that Hillary is duller than Trump. It turns out that Trump generates more intense emotions, both good and bad, than Clinton – however this gap is marginal with only a 2-point difference between candidates.

It will be interesting to see the impact that this implied Pyongyang support has on the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on Hillary’s efforts to shake off the North Korean ‘dull’ label.

Internet responds to Top Gear with mixed emotions


The new series of Top Gear debuted on BBC Two on Sunday evening to an audience of just 4.3 million – 2.9 million shy of last season’s premiere. New hosts Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans had big shoes to fill following the controversial departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May from the show last year, and for many it remains unclear whether or not they succeeded.

Critic reviews of the relaunch were mixed. While some felt that the show just needs time to develop, others sensed a lack of chemistry between the new hosts, perceiving the show as forced. Any positive reviews may have been overshadowed by Chris Evans, who took to Twitter to vent about the criticism that they have received.

Tweets about the new series were largely pessimistic about the show’s future, reflected by the low Adorescore of 5. Although a high level of the emotions loathing and grief were expressed in relation to the show, this was coupled with substantial amounts of ecstasy and admiration, as some felt that the new iteration was more enjoyable than the last, and welcomed the changes that had been made.

In contrast, the upcoming Amazon show The Grand Tour, hosted by Clarkson, Hammond and May was viewed much more positively this week, with a high Adorescore of 70 and high levels of strongly positive emotions like vigilance, ecstasy and admiration. It appears that excitement for this show has only been strengthened by the divisive release of Top Gear this week.

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